Threonine diffusion and threonine transport in Corynebacterium glutamicum and their role in threonine production
Transmembrane threonine fluxes (i.e., uptake, diffusion, and carrier-mediated excretion) all contribut-ing to threonine production by a recombinant strain of Corynebacterium glutamicum, were analyzed and quantitated. A threonine-uptake carrier that transports threonine in symport with sodium ions was identified. Under production conditions (i.e., when internal threonine is high), this uptake system catalyzed predominantly threonine/threonine exchange. Threonine export via the uptake system was excluded. Threonine efflux from the cells was shown to comprise both carrier-mediated excretion and passive diffusion. The latter process was analyzed after inhibition of all carrier-mediated fluxes. Threonine diffusion was found to proceed with a first-order rate constant of 0.003 min–1 or 0.004 μl min–1 (mg dry wt.)–1, which corresponds to a permeability of 8 × 10–10 cm s–1. According to this permeability, less than 10% of the efflux observed under optimal conditions takes place via diffusion, and more than 90% must result from the activity of the excretion carrier. In addition, the excretion carrier was identified by (1) inhibition of its activity by amino acid modifying reagents and (2) its dependence on metabolic energy in the form of the membrane potential. Activity of the excretion system depended on the membrane potential, but not on the presence of sodium ions. Threonine export in antiport against protons is proposed.
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