Control analysis of the dependence of Escherichia coli physiology on the H+ -ATPase

Peter Ruhdal Jensen, Ole Michelsen, Hans V. Westerhoff

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The H+-ATPase plays a central role in Escherichia coli free-energy transduction and hence in E. coli physiology. We here investigate the extent to which this enzyme also controls the growth rate, growth yield, and respiratory rate of E. coli. We modulate the expression of the atp operon and determine the effect on said properties. When quantified in terms of control coefficients, we find that, in the wild-type cell growing on glucose in minimal medium, this key enzyme (H+-ATPase) exerts virtually no control on growth rate ( VBRC VBR lt 0.01), a minor positive control on growth yield (C = 0.15), and a small but negative control on respiration rate (C = -0.25). The control the enzyme exerts on the consumption rate of the carbon and free-energy substrate is negative (C = -0.15). We also studied how the control coefficients themselves vary with the expression of the atp operon. As the level of expression of the atp operon was reduced, the control exerted by the H+-ATPase on growth rate and growth yield increased slightly; the control on growth rate passed through a maximum (C = 0.1) and disappeared when the atp operon was not expressed at all, reflecting that with this substrate there are alternative routes for ATP synthesis. At elevated levels of the H+-ATPase compared to the wild type, the control exerted by the enzyme on growth rate became negative. The evolutionary context of the absence of control by the atp operon on growth rate is discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number17
    Pages (from-to)8068-8072
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 1993


    • Cell Division
    • Chromosomes, Bacterial
    • Escherichia coli
    • Genotype
    • Kinetics
    • Macromolecular Substances
    • Operon
    • Oxygen Consumption
    • Promoter Regions, Genetic
    • Proton-Translocating ATPases
    • EC Proton-Translocating ATPases
    • EC
    • Facultatively Anaerobic Gram-Negative Rods Eubacteria Bacteria Microorganisms (Bacteria, Eubacteria, Microorganisms) - Enterobacteriaceae [06702] Enterobacteriaceae
    • ATP 56-65-5Q, 42530-29-0Q, 94587-45-8Q, 111839-44-2Q
    • ATPASE 9000-83-3
    • 01500, Evolution
    • 10300, Replication, transcription, translation
    • 10808, Enzymes - Physiological studies
    • 13003, Metabolism - Energy and respiratory metabolism
    • 25508, Development and Embryology - Morphogenesis
    • 31000, Physiology and biochemistry of bacteria
    • 31500, Genetics of bacteria and viruses
    • Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
    • Enzymology
    • Evolution and Adaptation
    • Genetics
    • Metabolism
    • Physiology


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