The Utilization of Pentitols in Studies of the Evolution of Enzyme Pathways

  • Robert P. Mortlock
Part of the Monographs in Evolutionary Biology book series (MEBI)


Microbiologists generally agree that the earliest microorganisms to evolve were simple in their metabolic capabilities and had to be supplied with many preformed, complex molecules to satisfy their nutritional requirements. As time passed, certain organisms developed new metabolic pathways to synthesize such required compounds from smaller, less complex molecules and thus became more versatile in their nutritional requirements, utilizing a wider range of food sources. Changes in the metabolism of higher organisms must have produced new types of organic compounds that entered the environment upon the death of the organisms. Micro-organisms, in turn, evolved metabolic pathways for the degradation of these new molecules and used them to obtain carbon and energy to satisfy their growth requirements. The extra DNA provided by the duplication of previously existing genes may have been modified through mutation to eventually become the structural and regulatory genes for new degradative pathways.


Catabolic Pathway Enzyme Pathway Chemostat Experiment Aerobacter Aerogenes Constitutive Synthesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bisson, T. M., Oliver, E. J., and Mortlock, R. P., 1968, Regulation of pentitol metabolism by Aerobacter aerogenes. II. Induction of the ribitol pathway, J. Bacteriol. 95:932–936.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Burleigh, B. D. Jr., Rigby, P. W. J., and Hartley, B. S., 1974, A comparison of wild-type and mutant ribitol dehydrogenases from Klebsiella aerogenes, Biochem. J. 143:341–352.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Charnetsky, W. T., and Mortlock, R. P., 1974a, Ribitol catabolic pathway in Klebsiella aerogenes, J. Bacteriol. 119:162–169.Google Scholar
  4. Charnetzky, W. T., and Mortlock, R. P., 1974b, Close genetic linkage of the determinants of the ribitol and d-arabitol catabolic pathways in Klebsiella aerogenes, J. Bacteriol. 119:176–182.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Doten, R. C., and Mortlock, R. P., 1983, NAD-linked xylitol-4-dehydrogenase in Erwinia, Abstr. Annu. Meet. Am. Soc. Microbiol. K 244, p. 217.Google Scholar
  6. Fossitt, D. D., Mortlock, R. P., Anderson, R. L., and Wood, W. A., 1964, Pathways of l-arabitol and xylitol metabolism in Aerobacter aerogenes, J. Biol. Chem. 239:2110–2115.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Gong, Cheng-Shung, Chen, L. F., and Tsao, G. T., 1981, Quantitative production of xylitol from d-xylose by a high-xylitol producing yeast mutant Candida tropicalis HXP2, Biotechnol. Lett. 3:125–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hartley, B. S., Altosaar, I., Dothie, J. M., and Neuberger, M. S., 1976, Experimental evolution of a xylitol dehydrogenase, in: Proceedings of the Third John Innes Symposium (R. Markham and R. W. Horne, eds.), North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp. 191-200.Google Scholar
  9. Horowitz, N. H., 1945, On the evolution of biochemical synthesis, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 31:153–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Horowitz, N. H., 1965, The evolution of biochemical synthesis—Retrospect and prospect, in: Evolving Genes and Proteins (V. Bryson and H. J. Vogel, eds.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 15–23.Google Scholar
  11. Inderlied, C. B., and Mortlock, R. P., 1977, Growth of Klebsiella aerogenes on xylitol: Implications for bacterial enzyme evolution, J. Mol. Evol. 9:181–190.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. LeBlanc, D. J., and Mortlock, R. P., 1973, Regulation of the l-arabinose catabolic pathway in Aerobacter aerogenes, Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 156:390–396.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lerner, S. A., Wu, T. T., and Lin, E. C. C., 1964, Evolution of a catabolic pathway in bacteria, Science 146:1313–1315.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lin, E. C. C., Hacking, A. J., and Aguilar, J., 1976, Experimental models of acquisitive evolution, BioScience 26:548–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Link, C. D., and Reiner, A. M., 1982, Inverted repeats surround the ribitol—arabitol genes of E. coli C., Nature 298:94–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Makinen, K. K., and Scheinin, A., 1982, Xylitol and dental caries, Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2:133–150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mays, J. P., and Mortlock, R. P., 1983, Inducer exclusion and ribitol transport in Klebsiella, Abstr. Annu. Meet. Am. Soc. Microbiol. K 113, p. 195.Google Scholar
  18. Mortlock, R. P., 1976, Catabolism of unnatural carbohydrates by micro-organisms, Adv. Microb. Physiol. 13:2–53.Google Scholar
  19. Mortlock, R. P., 1982, Regulatory mutations and the development of new metabolic pathways by bacteria, in: Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 14 (M. K. Hecht, B. Wallace, and G. T. Prance, eds.), Plenum Press, New York, pp. 205–268.Google Scholar
  20. Mortlock, R. P., and Wood, W. A., 1964a, Metabolism of pentoses and pentitols by Aerobacter aerogenes. I. Demonstration of pentose isomerase, pentulokinase, and pentitol dehydrogenase enzyme families, J. Bacteriol. 88:835–844.Google Scholar
  21. Mortlock, R. P., and Wood, W. A., 1964b, Metabolism of pentoses and pentitols by Aerobacter aerogenes. II. Mechanism of acquisition of kinase, isomerase, and dehydrogenase activity, J. Bacteriol. 88:845–849.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Mortlock, R. P., Fossitt, D. D., Petering, D. H., and Wood, W. A., 1965a, Metabolism of pentoses and pentitols by Aerobacter aerogenes III. Physical and immunological properties of pentitol dehydrogenases and pentulokinases, J. Bacteriol. 89:129–135.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Mortlock, R. P., Fossitt, D. D., and Wood, W. A., 1965b, A basis for utilization of unnatural pentoses and pentitols by Aerobacter aerogenes, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 54:572–579.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Neuberger, M. S., and Hartley, B. S., 1979, Investigations into the Klebsiella aerogenes pentitol Operons using specialized transducing phages prbt and prbt dal, J. Mol. Biol. 132:435–470.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Reiner, A. M., 1975, Genes for ribitol and d-arabitol catabolism in Escherichia coli: Their loci on C strains and absence in K-12 and B strains, J. Bacteriol. 123:530–536.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Scangos, G. A., and Reiner, A. M., 1978, Ribitol and d-arabitol catabolism in Escherichia coli, J. Bacteriol. 134:492–500.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Schaffer, R., 1972, Occurrence, properties, and preparation of naturally occurring mono-saccharides (including 6-deoxy sugars), in: The Carbohydrates, Vol. 1A (W. Pigman and D. Horton, eds.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 69–111.Google Scholar
  28. Thompson, L. W., and Krawiec, S., 1983, Acquisitive evolution of ribitol dehydrogenase in Klebsiella pneumoniae, J. Bacteriol. 154:1027–1031.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Washuttl, J., Riederer, P., and Bank, E., 1973, A qualitative and quantitative study of sugar-alcohols in several foods, J. Food Sci. 38:1262–1263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wilson, B. L., and Mortlock, R. P., 1972, Regulation of d-xylose and d-arabitol catabolism by Aerobacter aerogenes, J. Bacteriol. 113:1404–1411.Google Scholar
  31. Wood, W. A., McDonough, M. J., and Jacobs, L. B., 1961, Ribitol and d-arabitol utilization by Aerobacter aerogenes, J. Biol. Chem. 236:2190–2195.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Wu, T. T., 1976a, Growth of a mutant of Escherichia coli K-12 on xylitol by recruiting enzymes for d-xylose and l-1,2-propanediol metabolism, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 428:656–663.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wu, T. T., 1976b, Growth on d-arabitol of a mutant strain of Escherichia coli K-12 using a novel dehydrogenase and enzymes related to l-1,2 propanediol and d-xylose metabolism, J. Gen. Microbiol. 94:246–256.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Wu, T. T., Lin, E. C. C., and Tanaka, S., 1968, Mutants of Aerobacter aerogenes capable of utilizing xylitol as a novel carbon, J. Bacteriol. 96:447–456.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert P. Mortlock
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, New York State College of Agriculture and Life SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations