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Compensations for Diminished Terminal Oxidase Activity in Escherichia coli: Cytochrome bd-II-Mediated Respiration and Glutamate Metabolism

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18464-18472
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2010


Escherichia coli possesses cytochrome bo' (CyoABCDE), cytochrome bd-I (CydAB), and cytochrome bd-II (AppBC) quinol oxidases, all of which can catalyze the terminal step in the aerobic respiratory chain, the reduction of oxygen by ubiquinol. Although CydAB has a role in the generation of Delta pH, AppBC has been proposed to alleviate the accumulation of electrons in the quinone pool during respiratory stress via electroneutral ubiquinol oxidation. A cydB mutant strain exhibited lower respiration rates while maintaining a wild type growth rate. Transcriptomic analysis revealed a dramatic up-regulation of AppBC in the cydB strain, accompanied by the induction of genes involved in glutamate/gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) antiport, the GABA shunt, the glyoxylate shunt, respiration (including appBC), motility, and osmotic stress. Transcription factor modeling suggests that the underpinning regulation is largely controlled by H-NS, GadX, FlhDC, and AppY. The transcriptional adaptations imply that cydB cells contribute to the proton motive force via consumption of intracellular protons and glutamate/GABA antiport. Indeed, supplementation of culture medium with L-glutamate stimulates growth in a cydB strain. Phenotype analyses of the cydB strain confirm decreased motility and elevated acid resistance and also an elevated cytochrome d spectroscopic signal in cells grown at low pH. We propose a mechanism via which E. coli can compensate for the loss of cytochrome bd-I activity; cytochrome bd-II-mediated quinol oxidation prevents the accumulation of NADH, whereas GABA synthesis/antiport maintains the proton motive force for ATP production.

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