Control of lactate production by Selenomonas ruminantium: homotropic activation of lactate dehydrogenase by pyruvate

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Selenomonas ruminantium produced one mole of D(-)-lactate per mole of glucose used at all dilution rates in ammonia-limited continuous culture. In contrast, lactate production varied according to the dilution rate when glucose was the limiting nutrient. At dilution rates of less than 0.2 h-1, acetate and propionate were the main fermentation products and lactate production was low. At dilution rates above 0.2 h-1, the pattern changed to one of high lactate production similar to that under ammonia limitation. Experiments with cell-free extracts of S. ruminantium showed that D(-)-lactate dehydrogenase had sigmoidal kinetics consistent with homotropic activation of the enzyme by its substrate, pyruvate. This feature allows S. ruminantium to amplify the effects of relatively small changes in the intracellular concentration of pyruvate to cause much larger changes in the rate of production of lactate. Some confirmation that this mechanism of control occurs under physiological conditions was obtained in glucose-limited culture, in which the sigmoidal increase in lactate production was accompanied by a linear increase in pyruvate excretion as the dilution rate increased.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of General Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1978


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