Archaea are characterised by a complex metabolism with many unique enzymes that differ from their bacterial and eukaryotic counterparts. The thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus is known for its metabolic versatility and is able to utilize a great variety of different carbon sources. However, the underlying degradation pathways and their regulation are often unknown. In this work, the growth on different carbon sources was analysed, using an integrated systems biology approach. The comparison of growth on L-fucose and D-glucose allows first insights into the genome-wide changes in response to the two carbon sources and revealed a new pathway for L-fucose degradation in S. solfataricus. During growth on L-fucose major changes in the central carbon metabolic network, as well as an increased activity of the glyoxylate bypass and the 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle were observed. Within the newly discovered pathway for L-fucose degradation the following key reactions were identified: (i) L-fucose oxidation to L-fuconate via a dehydrogenase, (ii) dehydration to 2-keto-3-deoxy-L-fuconate via dehydratase, (iii) 2-keto-3-deoxy-L-fuconate cleavage to pyruvate and L-lactaldehyde via aldolase and (iv) L-lactaldehyde conversion to L-lactate via aldehyde dehydrogenase. This pathway as well as L-fucose transport shows interesting overlaps to the D-arabinose pathway, representing another example for pathway promiscuity in Sulfolobus species.
© 2016 The Authors. Molecular Microbiology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.