Growth of the acetogenic bacterium Acetobacterium woodii by dismutation of acetaldehyde to acetate and ethanol

  • Acetogenic bacteria are a group of strictly anaerobic bacteria that may have been first life forms on Earth since they employ an ancient pathway for CO2 fixation into acetyl-CoA that is coupled to the synthesis of ATP, the Wood–Ljungdahl pathway. Electrons for CO2 reduction are derived from oxidation of H2 or CO and thus, these bacteria can grow lithotrophically on gases present on early Earth. Among the organic molecules present on early Earth is acetaldehyde, a highly volatile C2 compound. Here, we demonstrate that the acetogenic model bacterium Acetobacterium woodii grows on acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is dismutated to ethanol and acetyl-CoA, most likely by the bifunctional alcohol dehydrogenase AdhE. Acetyl-CoA is converted to acetate by two subsequent enzymes, phosphotransacetylase and acetate kinase, accompanied by the synthesis of ATP by substrate-level phosphorylation. Apparently, growth on acetaldehyde does not employ the Wood–Ljungdahl pathway. Our finding opens the possibility of a simple and ancient metabolic pathway with only three enzymes that allows for biomass (acetyl-CoA) and ATP formation on early Earth.
Author:Dragan Trifunović, Natalie Berghaus, Volker MüllerORCiD
Parent Title (English):Environmental microbiology reports
Place of publication:Oxford [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2019/11/12
Date of first Publication:2019/11/12
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/01/25
Page Number:5
First Page:58
Last Page:62
The authors are indebted to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for financial support.
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0