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Convergent evolution of a modified, acetate-driven TCA cycle in bacteria

Nature Microbiology volume 2, Article number: 17067 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

The tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle is central to energy production and biosynthetic precursor synthesis in aerobic organisms. There are few known variations of a complete TCA cycle, with the common notion being that the enzymes involved have already evolved towards optimal performance. Here, we present evidence that an alternative TCA cycle, in which acetate:succinate CoA-transferase (ASCT) replaces the enzymatic step typically performed by succinyl-CoA synthetase (SCS), has arisen in diverse bacterial groups, including microbial symbionts of animals such as humans and insects.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council through Postgraduate Scholarship award PGSD-3-420434-2012 (to W.K.K.), the US National Science Foundation Dimensions of Biodiversity awards 1046153 and 1415604 and the US National Institutes of Health award 1R01GM108477-01 (to N.A.M.).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA

    • Waldan K. Kwong
    • , Hao Zheng
    •  & Nancy A. Moran

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Contributions

Conceptualization, formal analysis, visualization and writing of the original draft were carried out by W.K.K. Methodology and investigation were performed by W.K.K. and H.Z. Writing, reviewing and editing of the manuscript were carried out by W.K.K., H.Z. and N.A.M. Resources and supervision were provided by N.A.M.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Waldan K. Kwong.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nmicrobiol.2017.67

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