Methylcitrate synthase (EC 220.127.116.11; MCS) is a key enzyme of the methylcitric acid cycle localized in the mitochondria of eukaryotic cells and related to propionic acid metabolism. In this study, cloning of the gene mcsA encoding MCS and heterologous expression of it in Escherichia coli were performed for functional analysis of the MCS of citric acid-producing Aspergillus niger WU-2223L. Only one copy of mcsA (1,495 bp) exists in the A. niger WU-2223L chromosome. It encodes a 51-kDa polypeptide consisting of 465 amino acids containing mitochondrial targeting signal peptides. Purified recombinant MCS showed not only MCS activity (27.6 U/mg) but also citrate synthase (EC 18.104.22.168; CS) activity (26.8 U/mg). For functional analysis of MCS, mcsA disruptant strain DMCS-1, derived from A. niger WU-2223L, was constructed. Although A. niger WU-2223L showed growth on propionate as sole carbon source, DMCS-1 showed no growth. These results suggest that MCS is an essential enzyme in propionic acid metabolism, and that the methylcitric acid cycle operates functionally in A. niger WU-2223L. To determine whether MCS makes a contribution to citric acid production, citric acid production tests on DMCS-1 were performed. The amount of citric acid produced from glucose consumed by DMCS-1 in citric acid production medium over 12 d of cultivation was on the same level to that by WU-2223L. Thus it was found that MCS made no contribution to citric acid production from glucose in A. niger WU-2223L, although MCS showed CS activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Molecular Biology
- Organic Chemistry