Metabolic pathways leading from amino acids to vitamin B12 in Propionibacterium shermanii, and the sources of the seven methyl carbons

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The metabolic pathways leading from L-[2-13C]aspartic acid, [2-13C]glycine and L-[methyl-13C]methionine to vitamin B12 were investigated, focusing on the biosynthetic pathways leading to the aminopropanol moiety of vitamin B12 and on the role of the Shemin pathway leading to δ-aminolevulinic acid (a biosynthetic intermediate of tetrapyrrole), by means of feeding experiments with Propionibacterium shermanii in combination with 13C-NMR spectroscopy. The 13C-methylene carbons of L-[2-13C]aspartic acid, which is transformed to [2-13C]glycine via L-[2-13C]threonine, and [2-13C]glycine added to the culture medium served mainly to enrich the seven methyl carbons of the corrin ring through C-methylation by S-adenosyl-L-[methyl-13C]methionine derived from catabolically generated L-[methyl-13C]methionine in the presence of tetrahydrofolic acid. The results indicate that the catabolism of these amino acids predominates over pathways leading to (2R)-1-amino-2-propanol or δ-aminolevulinic acid in P. shermanii. Feeding of L-[methyl-13C]methionine efficiently enriched all seven methyl carbons. In the cases of [2-13C]glycine and L-[methyl-13C]methionine, the 13C-enrichment ratio of the methyl carbon at C-25 (the site of the first C-methylation) was less than those of the other six methyl carbons, probably due to the influence of endogenous D-glucose in P. shermanii. The almost identical 13C-enrichment ratios of the other six methyl carbons indicated that these C-methylations during vitamin B12 biosynthesis were completed before the amino acids were completely consumed. However, in the case of L-[2-13C]aspartic acid, the 13C-enrichment ratios of five methyl carbons were low and similar, whereas the last two sites of C-methylation (C-53 and C-35) were not labeled, presumably because of complete consumption of the smaller amount of added label. The ratios of 13C-incorporation into the seven methyl carbons are influenced by the conditions of amino acid feeding experiments in a manner that is dependent upon the order of C-methylation in the corrin ring of vitamin B12.

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