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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Metabolic fluxes in the central carbon metabolism of Dinoroseobacter shibae and Phaeobacter gallaeciensis, two members of the marine Roseobacter clade

Tobias Fürch1, Matthias Preusse1, Jürgen Tomasch2, Hajo Zech3, Irene Wagner-Döbler2, Ralf Rabus3 and Christoph Wittmann1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Biochemical Engineering, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Gaußstraße 17, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany

2 Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Research Group Microbial Communication, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany

3 Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM), University of Oldenburg, D-26111 Oldenburg, Germany

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BMC Microbiology 2009, 9:209  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-209

Published: 29 September 2009

Abstract

Background

In the present work the central carbon metabolism of Dinoroseobacter shibae and Phaeobacter gallaeciensis was studied at the level of metabolic fluxes. These two strains belong to the marine Roseobacter clade, a dominant bacterial group in various marine habitats, and represent surface-associated, biofilm-forming growth (P. gallaeciensis) and symbiotic growth with eukaryotic algae (D. shibae). Based on information from recently sequenced genomes, a rich repertoire of pathways has been identified in the carbon core metabolism of these organisms, but little is known about the actual contribution of the various reactions in vivo.

Results

Using 13C labelling techniques in specifically designed experiments, it could be shown that glucose-grown cells of D. shibae catabolise the carbon source exclusively via the Entner-Doudoroff pathway, whereas alternative routes of glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway are obviously utilised for anabolic purposes only. Enzyme assays confirmed this flux pattern and link the lack of glycolytic flux to the absence of phosphofructokinase activity. The previously suggested formation of phosphoenolpyruvate from pyruvate during mixotrophic CO2 assimilation was found to be inactive under the conditions studied. Moreover, it could be shown that pyruvate carboxylase is involved in CO2 assimilation and that the cyclic respiratory mode of the TCA cycle is utilised. Interestingly, the use of intracellular pathways was highly similar for P. gallaeciensis.

Conclusion

The present study reveals the first insight into pathway utilisation within the Roseobacter group. Fluxes through major intracellular pathways of the central carbon metabolism, which are closely linked to the various important traits found for the Roseobacter clade, could be determined. The close similarity of fluxes between the two physiologically rather different species might provide the first indication of more general key properties among members of the Roseobacter clade which may explain their enormous success in the marine realm.