Chapter 5 : How Thermophiles Cope with Thermolabile Metabolites

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An intriguing question is how thermophilic organisms, in particular hyperthermophilic ones, cope with heat-sensitive thermolabile metabolites. Important phosphorylated metabolites, also used in glucose metabolism, are ATP and ADP. The comparison of the hyperthermophilic enzymes for tryptophan synthesis with the mesophilic homologs has suggested possible strategies by which hyperthermophiles cope with the thermolabile intermediates in tryptophan biosynthesis. In bacteria such as and serovar , tryptophan synthase is an α β tetrameric enzyme complex that catalyzes the final two steps in the biosynthesis of tryptophan and involves the conversion of indole 3-glycerol phosphate (IGP) and serine to tryptophan. Important from the point of view of adaptation to thermophily is that interdomain signaling and channeling of NH in the enzyme of were found to be strongly temperature dependent. Hyperthermophiles appear to cope with the limitations posed by thermolabile metabolites and coenzymes by a range of mechanisms including rapid turnover or increased catalytic efficiency, local stabilization, substitution or bypassing, microenvironmental compartmentation, or metabolic channeling. Already some years ago, the enzymes of several metabolic pathways were suggested to be organized into structural and functional units. In this view, metabolic channeling of intermediates between physically associated enzymes that are sequential members of a metabolic pathway can be a major thermoprotective mechanism for thermolabile metabolites and therefore can play a critical role in the physiology of thermophiles.

Citation: Massant J. 2007. How Thermophiles Cope with Thermolabile Metabolites, p 57-74. In Gerday C, Glansdorff N (ed), Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815813.ch5

Key Concept Ranking

Acetyl Coenzyme A
Purine Nucleotide Biosynthesis
Multienzyme Complex
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Image of Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Embden–Meyerhof (EM) and Entner–Doudoroff (ED) glucose-degrading pathways.

Citation: Massant J. 2007. How Thermophiles Cope with Thermolabile Metabolites, p 57-74. In Gerday C, Glansdorff N (ed), Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815813.ch5
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Image of Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Non-phosphorylative and semi-phosphorylative Entner–Doudoroff pathway.

Citation: Massant J. 2007. How Thermophiles Cope with Thermolabile Metabolites, p 57-74. In Gerday C, Glansdorff N (ed), Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815813.ch5
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Image of Figure 3.
Figure 3.

Tryptophan biosynthetic pathway.

Citation: Massant J. 2007. How Thermophiles Cope with Thermolabile Metabolites, p 57-74. In Gerday C, Glansdorff N (ed), Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815813.ch5
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Image of Figure 4.
Figure 4.

De novo purine biosynthesis.

Citation: Massant J. 2007. How Thermophiles Cope with Thermolabile Metabolites, p 57-74. In Gerday C, Glansdorff N (ed), Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815813.ch5
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Figure 5.

Carbamoyl phosphate, a precursor of both arginine and pyrimidine biosynthetic pathways.

Citation: Massant J. 2007. How Thermophiles Cope with Thermolabile Metabolites, p 57-74. In Gerday C, Glansdorff N (ed), Physiology and Biochemistry of Extremophiles. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815813.ch5
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