Use of a bacterial luciferase monitoring system to estimate real-time dynamics of intracellular metabolism in Escherichia coli

Tomohiro Shimada, Kan Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Regulation of central carbon metabolism has long been an important research subject in every organism. While the dynamics of metabolic flows during changes in available carbon sources have been estimated based on changes in metabolism-related gene expression, as well as on changes in the metabolome, the flux change itself has scarcely been measured because of technical difficulty, which has made conclusions elusive in many cases. Here, we used a monitoring system employing Vibrio fischeri luciferase to probe the intracellular metabolic condition in Escherichia coli. Using a batch culture provided with a limited amount of glucose, we performed a time course analysis, where the predominant carbon source shifts from glucose to acetate, and identified a series of sequential peaks in the luciferase activity (peaks 1 to 4). Two major peaks, peaks 1 and 3, were considered to correspond to the glucose and acetate consuming phases, respectively, based on the glucose, acetate, and dissolved oxygen concentrations in the medium. The pattern of these peaks was changed by the addition of a different carbon source or by an increasing concentration of glucose, which was consistent with the present model. Genetically, mutations involved in glycolysis or the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle/gluconeogenesis specifically affected peak 1 or peak 3, respectively, as expected from the corresponding metabolic phase. Intriguingly, mutants for the acetate excretion pathway showed a phenotype of extended peak 2 and delayed transition to the TCA cycle/gluconeogenesis phase, which suggests that peak 2 represents the metabolic transition phase. These results indicate that the bacterial luciferase monitoring system is useful to understand the real-time dynamics of metabolism in living bacterial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5960-5968
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume82
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

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