Oxygen- and growth rate-dependent regulation of Escherichia coli fumarase (FumA, FumB, and FumC) activity

Ching-Ping Tseng*, C. C. Yu, H. H. Lin, C. Y. Chang, J. T. Kuo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Escherichia coli contains three biochemically distinct fumarases which catalyze the interconversion of fumarate to L-malate in the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Batch culture studies indicated that fumarase activities varied according to carbon substrate and cell doubling time. Growth rate control of fumarase activities in the wild type and mutants was demonstrated in continuous culture; FumA and FumC activities were induced four-to fivefold when the cell growth rate (k) was lowered from 1.2/h to 0.24/h at 1 and 21% O 2 , respectively. There was a twofold induction of FumA and FumC activities when acetate was utilized instead of glucose as the sole carbon source. However, these fumarase activities were still shown to be under growth rate control. Thus, the activity of the fumarases is regulated by the cell growth rate and carbon source utilization independently. Further examination of FumA and FumC activities in a cya mutant suggested that growth rate control of FumA and FumC activities is cyclic AMP dependent. Although the total fumarase activity increased under aerobic conditions, the individual fumarase activities varied under different oxygen levels. While FumB activity was maximal during anaerobic growth (k = 0.6/h), FumA was the major enzyme under anaerobic cell growth, and the maximum activity was achieved when oxygen was elevated to 1 to 2%. Further increase in the oxygen level caused inactivation of FumA and FumB activities by the high oxidized state, but FumC activity increased simultaneously when the oxygen level was higher than 4%. The same regulation of the activities of fumarases in response to different oxygen levels was also found in mutants. Therefore, synthesis of the three fumarase enzymes is controlled in a hierarchical fashion depending on the environmental oxygen that the cell encounters.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 23 Jan 2001

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