Flux Balance Analysis of Ammonia Assimilation Network in E. coli Predicts Preferred Regulation Point
Nitrogen assimilation is a critical biological process for the synthesis of biomolecules in Escherichia coli. The central ammonium assimilation network in E. coli converts carbon skeleton α-ketoglutarate and ammonium into glutamate and glutamine, which further serve as nitrogen donors for nitrogen metabolism in the cell. This reaction network involves three enzymes: glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), glutamine synthetase (GS) and glutamate synthase (GOGAT). In minimal media, E. coli tries to maintain an optimal growth rate by regulating the activity of the enzymes to match the availability of the external ammonia. The molecular mechanism and the strategy of the regulation in this network have been the research topics for many investigators. In this paper, we develop a flux balance model for the nitrogen metabolism, taking into account of the cellular composition and biosynthetic requirements for nitrogen. The model agrees well with known experimental results. Specifically, it reproduces all the 15N isotope labeling experiments in the wild type and the two mutant (ΔGDH and ΔGOGAT) strains of E. coli. Furthermore, the predicted catalytic activities of GDH, GS and GOGAT in different ammonium concentrations and growth rates for the wild type, ΔGDH and ΔGOGAT strains agree well with the enzyme concentrations obtained from western blots. Based on this flux balance model, we show that GS is the preferred regulation point among the three enzymes in the nitrogen assimilation network. Our analysis reveals the pattern of regulation in this central and highly regulated network, thus providing insights into the regulation strategy adopted by the bacteria. Our model and methods may also be useful in future investigations in this and other networks.
For the full article visit: Flux Balance Analysis of Ammonia Assimilation Network in E. coli Predicts Preferred Regulation Point
Syndicated from:PLoS ONE
Article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.