Speed versus efficiency in microbial growth and the role of parallel pathways

J Bacteriol. 2002 Feb;184(4):1041-5. doi: 10.1128/jb.184.4.1041-1045.2002.


Many microorganisms have sets of parallel pathways for ATP production in respiration and for ATP utilization in glutamate synthesis. The alternatives differ in efficiency of ATP production and utilization. The choice among these parallel pathways has been hypothesized to control the speed and efficiency of growth. Thus, the organism should be able to alleviate (or exaggerate) deficiency in one pathway by deleting another. I show here that in Escherichia coli the effect of lack of the glutamate-synthesizing enzyme glutamate dehydrogenase on glucose-limited growth is altered predictably by ndh, cyo, and cyd mutations affecting parallel pathways leading to ATP synthesis in respiration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Culture Media
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Mutagenesis
  • Time Factors


  • Culture Media
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase