Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 154, Issue 1, pp 60–66 | Cite as

The specific functions of menaquinone and demethylmenaquinone in anaerobic respiration with fumarate, dimethylsulfoxide, trimethylamine N-oxide and nitrate by Escherichia coli

  • U. Wissenbach
  • A. Kröger
  • G. Unden
Original Papers


The respiratory activities of E. coli with H2 as donor and with nitrate, fumarate, dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) or trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) as acceptor were measured using the membrane fraction of quinone deficient strains. The specific activities of the membrane fraction lacking naphthoquinones with fumarate, DMSO or TMAO amounted to ≤2% of those measured with the membrane fraction of the wild-type strain. After incorporation of vitamin K1 [instead of menaquinone (MK)] into the membrane fraction deficient of naphthoquinones, the activities with fumarate or DMSO were 92% or 17%, respectively, of the activities which could be theoretically achieved. Incorporation of demethylmenaquinone (DMK) did not lead to a stimulation of the activities of the mutant. In contrast, the electron transport activity with TMAO was stimulated by the incorporation of either vitamin K1 or DMK. Nitrate respiration was fully active in membrane fractions lacking either naphthoquinones or Q, but was ≤3% of the wild-type activity, when all quinones were missing. Nitrate respiration was stimulated on the incorporation of either vitamin K1 or Q into the membrane fraction lacking quinones, while the incorporation of DMK was without effect. These results suggest that MK is specifically involved in the electron transport chains catalyzing the reduction of fumarate or DMSO, while either MK or DMK serve as mediators in TMAO reduction. Nitrate respiration requires either Q or MK.

Key words

Menaquinone Demethylmenaquinone Anaerobic respiration Fumarate respiration DMSO respiration Nitrate respiration Escherichia coli 











trimethylamine N-oxide








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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Wissenbach
    • 1
  • A. Kröger
    • 1
  • G. Unden
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für MikrobiologieJ. W. Goethe-UniversitätFrankfurt/MainFederal Republic of Germany

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