Metabolic Flux Hierarchy Prioritizes the Entner-Doudoroff Pathway for Carbohydrate Co-Utilization in Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5

Rebecca A. Wilkes, Caroll M. Mendonca, Ludmilla Aristilde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The genetic characterization of Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5 was recently completed. However, the inferred metabolic network structure has not yet been evaluated experimentally. Here we employed 13C-tracers and quantitative flux analysis to investigate the intracellular network for carbohydrate metabolism. Similar to other Pseudomonas species, P. protegens Pf-5 relied primarily on the Entner-Doudoroff (ED) pathway to connect initial glucose catabolism to downstream metabolic pathways. Flux quantitation determined that, in lieu of the direct phosphorylation of glucose by glucose kinase, phosphorylation of oxidized products of glucose (gluconate and 2-ketogluconate) towards the ED pathway accounted for over 90% of consumed glucose and greater than 35% of consumed glucose was secreted as gluconate and 2-ketogluconate. Consistent with the lack of annotated pathways for the initial catabolism of pentoses and galactose in P. protegens Pf-5, only glucose was assimilated into intracellular metabolites in the presence of xylose, arabinose, or galactose. However, when glucose was fed simultaneously with fructose or mannose, co-uptake of the hexoses was evident but glucose was preferred over fructose (3 to 1) and over mannose (4 to 1). Despite gene annotation of mannose catabolism toward fructose 6-phosphate, metabolite labeling patterns revealed that mannose-derived carbons specifically entered central carbon metabolism via fructose-1,6-bisphosphate, similarly to fructose catabolism. Remarkably, carbons from mannose and fructose were found to cycle backward through the upper Emden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway to feed into the ED pathway. Therefore, the operational metabolic network for processing carbohydrates in P. protegens Pf-5 prioritizes flux through the ED pathway to channel carbons to downstream metabolic pathways. IMPORTANCE Species of the Pseudomonas genus thrive in various nutritional environments and have strong biocatalytic potential due to their diverse metabolic capabilities. Carbohydrate substrates are ubiquitous both in environmental matrices and in feedstocks for engineered bioconversion. Here we investigated the metabolic network for carbohydrate metabolism in P. protegens Pf-5. Metabolic flux quantitation revealed the relative involvement of different catabolic routes in channeling carbohydrate carbons through the network. We also uncovered that mannose catabolism was similar to fructose catabolism, despite the gene annotation of two different pathways in the genome. Elucidation of the constitutive metabolic network in P. protegens is important for understanding its innate carbohydrate processing, thus laying the foundation for targeting metabolic engineering of this untapped Pseudomonas species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Aug 28 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • co-utilization
  • hexose sugar
  • metabolic flux analysis
  • metabolomics
  • Pseudomonas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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