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Transport and metabolism of L-carnitine in enterobacteria

Carnitine transport and metabolism in enteric bacteria

Different Enterobacteriaceae are able to convert L-carnitine via crotonobetaine into gamma-butyrobetaine under anaerobic conditions. The pathway can be reverted and used for the biotechnological production of L-carnitine. In E. coli, the enzymes catalyzing this reaction sequence are encoded by the cai operon. Based on an amino acid sequence alignment and hydropathy profile analysis one of the genes of the operon, caiT, was proposed to code for a betaine transport protein. We investigate the enzymatic basis of L-carnitine metabolism and the molecular mechanism of L-carnitine transport across the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane.


Fig.: Carnitine transport and metabolism in enteric bacteria.