Stimulation of glucose catabolism in Escherichia coli by a potential futile cycle.
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Fifteen-fold overexpression of phosphoenolpyruvate synthase (Pps) (EC 126.96.36.199) in Escherichia coli stimulated oxygen consumption in glucose minimal medium. A further increase in Pps overexpression to 30-fold stimulated glucose consumption by approximately 2-fold and resulted in an increased excretion of pyruvate and acetate. Insertion of two codons at the PvuII site in the pps gene abolished the enzymatic activity and eliminated the above-described effects. Both the active and the inactive proteins were detected at the predicted molecular weight by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Therefore, the observed physiological changes were due to the activity of Pps. The higher specific rates of consumption of oxygen and glucose indicate a potential futile cycle between phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) and pyruvate. A model for the stimulation of glucose uptake is presented; it involves an increased PEP/pyruvate ratio caused by the overexpressed Pps activity, leading to a stimulation of the PEP:sugar phosphotransferase system.