Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 80, Issue 13, pp 1655–1671 | Cite as

Carbonyl Stress in Bacteria: Causes and Consequences

  • O. V. Kosmachevskaya
  • K. B. Shumaev
  • A. F. TopunovEmail author


Pathways of synthesis of the α-reactive carbonyl compound methylglyoxal (MG) in prokaryotes are described in this review. Accumulation of MG leads to development of carbonyl stress. Some pathways of MG formation are similar for both pro- and eukaryotes, but there are reactions specific for prokaryotes, e.g. the methylglyoxal synthase reaction. This reaction and the glyoxalase system constitute an alternative pathway of glucose catabolism–the MG shunt not associated with the synthesis of ATP. In violation of the regulation of metabolism, the cell uses MG shunt as well as other glycolysis shunting pathways and futile cycles enabling stabilization of its energetic status. MG was first examined as a biologically active metabolic factor participating in the formation of phenotypic polymorphism and hyperpersistent potential of bacterial populations. The study of carbonyl stress is interesting for evolutionary biology and can be useful for constructing highly effective producer strains.

Key words

carbonyl stress bacteria methylglyoxal metabolite overproduction 



advanced glycation end products


dihydroxyacetone phosphate


flux balance analysis


glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase

GloI/GloII and GloIII

glyoxalases I/II and III




reduced glutathione




methylglyoxal synthase


inorganic phosphate


reactive carbonyl species


reactive oxygen species.


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. V. Kosmachevskaya
    • 1
  • K. B. Shumaev
    • 1
  • A. F. Topunov
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Bach Institute of BiochemistryResearch Center of Biotechnology of the Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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