An nad synthetic reaction bypasses the lipoate requirement for aerobic growth of Escherichia coli strains blocked in succinate catabolism

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Molecular Microbiology


The lipoate coenzyme is essential for function of the pyruvate (PDH) and 2-oxoglutarate (OGDH) dehydrogenases and thus for aerobic growth of Escherichia coli. LipB catalyzes the first step in lipoate synthesis, transfer of an octanoyl moiety from the fatty acid synthetic intermediate, octanoyl-ACP, to PDH and OGDH. E. coli also encodes LplA, a ligase that in presence of exogenous octanoate (or lipoate) can bypass loss of LipB. LplA imparts ΔlipB strains with a 'leaky' growth phenotype on aerobic glucose minimal medium supplemented with succinate (which bypasses the OGDH-catalyzed reaction), because it scavenges an endogenous octanoate pool to activate PDH. Here we characterize a ΔlipB suppressor strain that did not require succinate supplementation, but did require succinyl-CoA ligase, confirming the presence of alternative source(s) of cytosolic succinate. We report that suppression requires inactivation of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), which greatly reduces the cellular requirement for succinate. In the suppressor strain succinate is produced by three enzymes, any one of which will suffice in the absence of SDH. These three enzymes are: trace levels of OGDH, the isocitrate lyase of the glyoxylate shunt and an unanticipated source, aspartate oxidase, the enzyme catalyzing the first step of nicotinamide biosynthesis.

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