For the catabolism of D-glucuronate, different pathways are used by different life forms. The pathways in bacteria and animals are established, however, a fungal pathway has not been described. In this communication, we describe an enzyme that is essential for D-glucuronate catabolism in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger. The enzyme has an NADH dependent 2-keto-L-gulonate reductase activity forming L-idonate. The deletion of the corresponding gene, the gluC, results in a phenotype of no growth on D-glucuronate. The open reading frame of the A. niger 2-keto-L-gulonate reductase was expressed as an active protein in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A histidine tagged protein was purified and it was demonstrated that the enzyme converts 2-keto-L-gulonate to L-idonate and, in the reverse direction, L-idonate to 2-keto-L-gulonate using the NAD(H) as cofactors. Such an L-idonate forming 2-keto-L-gulonate dehydrogenase has not been described previously. In addition, the finding indicates that the catabolic D-glucuronate pathway in A. niger differs fundamentally from the other known D-glucuronate pathways.
- Metabolic pathways