Intermediate instability at high temperature leads to low pathway efficiency for an in vitro reconstituted system of gluconeogenesis in Sulfolobus solfataricus

Theresa Kouril, Dominik Esser,  Julia Kort, Hans V. Westerhoff, Bettina Siebers and Jacky L. Snoep (2013) [PubMed]


Four enzymes of the gluconeogenic pathway in Sulfolobus solfataricus were purified and kinetically characterized. The enzymes were reconstituted in vitro to quantify the contribution of temperature instability of the pathway intermediates to carbon loss from the system. The reconstituted system, consisting of phosphoglycerate kinase, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, triose phosphate isomerase and the fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase/phosphatase maintained a constant consumption rate of 3-phosphoglycerate and production of fructose 6-phosphate over a 1 hour period. Cofactors ATP and NADPH were regenerated via pyruvate kinase and glucose dehydrogenase. A mathematical model was constructed on the basis of the kinetics of the purified enzymes and the measured half-life times of the pathway
intermediates. The model quantitatively predicted the systems fluxes and metabolite concentrations. Relative enzyme concentrations were chosen such that half the carbon in the system was lost due to degradation of the thermolabile intermediates dihydroxyacetone phosphate, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate and 1,3 bisphosphoglycerate, indicating that intermediate instability at high temperature can significantly affect pathway effciency.

Model is accessible via JWS Online.

Genome-Scale reconstruction and analysis of the metabolic network in the Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus

Thomas Ulas, S. Alexander Riemer, Melanie Zaparty, Bettina Siebers and Dietmar Schomburg (2012), [PubMed]


We describe the reconstruction of a genome-scale metabolic model of the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus, a hyperthermoacidophilic microorganism. It grows in terrestrial volcanic hot springs with growth occurring at pH 2–4 (optimum 3.5) and a temperature of 75–80°C (optimum 80°C). The genome of Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 contains 2,992,245 bp on a single circular chromosome and encodes 2,977 proteins and a number of RNAs. The network comprises 718 metabolic and 58 transport/exchange reactions and 705 unique metabolites, based on the annotated genome and available biochemical data. Using the model in conjunction with constraint-based methods, we simulated the metabolic fluxes induced by different environmental and genetic conditions. The predictions were compared to experimental measurements and phenotypes of S. solfataricus. Furthermore, the performance of the network for 35 different carbon sources known for S. solfataricus from the literature was simulated. Comparing the growth on different carbon sources revealed that glycerol is the carbon source with the highest biomass flux per imported carbon atom (75% higher than glucose). Experimental data was also used to fit the model to phenotypic observations. In addition to the commonly known heterotrophic growth of S. solfataricus, the crenarchaeon is also able to grow autotrophically using the hydroxypropionate-hydroxybutyrate cycle for bicarbonate fixation. We integrated this pathway into our model and compared bicarbonate fixation with growth on glucose as sole carbon source. Finally, we tested the robustness of the metabolism with respect to gene deletions using the method of Minimization of Metabolic Adjustment (MOMA), which predicted that 18% of all possible single gene deletions would be lethal for the organism.