Roles of SpoT and FNR in NH4+ assimilation and osmoregulation in GOGAT (glutamate synthase)-deficient mutants of Escherichia coli

Saroja, G. N. ; Gowrishankar, J. (1996) Roles of SpoT and FNR in NH4+ assimilation and osmoregulation in GOGAT (glutamate synthase)-deficient mutants of Escherichia coli Journal of Bacteriology, 178 (14). pp. 4105-4114. ISSN 0021-9193

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An osmosensitive mutant of Escherichia coli was isolated and shown to harbor two mutations that were together necessary for osmosensitivity. One (ossB) was an insertion mutation in the gltBD operon, which encodes the enzyme glutamate synthase (GOGAT), involved in ammonia assimilation and L-glutamate biosynthesis. The other (ossA) was in the fnr gene, encoding the regulator protein FNR for anaerobic gene expression. Several missense or deletion mutations in fnr and gltBD behaved like ossA and ossB, respectively, in conferring osmosensitivity. A mutation affecting the DNA-binding domain of FNR was recessive to fnr+ with respect to the osmotolerance phenotype but was dominant-negative for its effect on expression of genes in anaerobic respiration. Our results may most simply be interpreted as suggesting the requirement for monomeric FNR during aerobic growth of E. coli in high-osmolarity media, presumably for L-glutamate accumulation via the GOGAT- independent pathway (catalyzed by glutamate dehydrogenase [GDH]), but the mechanism of FNR action is not known. We also found that the spoT gene (encoding guanosine 3',5'-bispyrophosphate [ppGpp] synthetase II/ppGpp-3' pyrophosphohydrolase), in multiple copies, overcomes the defect in NH4+ assimilation associated with GOGAT deficiency and thereby suppresses osmosensitivity in gltBD fnr strains. Enhancement of GDH activity in these derivatives appears to be responsible for the observed suppression. Its likely physiological relevance was established by the demonstration that growth of gltBD mutants (that are haploid for spoT+) on moderately low [NH4+] was restored with the use of C sources poorer than glucose in the medium. Our results raise the possibility that SpoT-mediated accumulation of ppGpp during C-limited growth leads to GDH activation and that the latter enzyme plays an important role in N assimilation in situ hitherto unrecognized from studies on laboratory-grown cultures.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Society for Microbiology.
ID Code:16955
Deposited On:16 Nov 2010 13:15
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