Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 111, Issue 1–2, pp 85–91 | Cite as

Ammonium uptake and metabolism by nitrogen fixing bacteria

II. Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • D. Kleiner


The primary steps of N2, ammonia and nitrate metabolism in Klebsiella pneumoniae grown in a continuous culture are regulated by the kind and supply of the nitrogenous compound. Cultures growing on N2 as the only nitrogen source have high activities of nitrogenase, unadenylated glutamine synthetase and glutamate synthase and low levels of glutamate dehydrogenase. If small amounts of ammonium salts are added continuously, initially only part of it is absorbed by the organisms. After 2–3 h complete absorption of ammonia against an ammonium gradient coinciding with an increased growth rate of the bacteria is observed. The change in the extracellular ammonium level is paralleled by the intracellular glutamine concentration which in turn regulates the glutamine synthetase activity. An increase in the degree of adenylation correlates with a repression of nitrogenase synthesis and an induction of glutamate dehydrogenase synthesis. Upon deadenylation these events are reversed.—After addition of nitrate ammonia appears in the medium, probably due to the action of a membrane bound dissimilatory nitrate reductase.—Addition of dinitrophenol causes transient leakage of intracellular ammonium into the medium.

Key words

Ammonium metabolism Ammonium transport Glutamine synthetase Nitrogenase Glutamate synthase Glutamate dehydrogenase Nitrate reductase (dissimilatory) Klebsiella pneumoniae 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Kleiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl Biochemie am Chemischen Laboratorium der UniversitätFreiburg i. Br.Germany

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