The degradation of L-histidine, imidazolyl-L-lactate and imidazolylpropionate by Pseudomonas testosteroni

Biochem J. 1973 Mar;132(3):409-22. doi: 10.1042/bj1320409.


1. Imidazol-5-ylpropionate and imidazol-5-yl-lactate are degraded by Pseudomonas testosteroni via inducible pathways. 2. Growth on either compound as the sole source of carbon results in the induction of the enzymes for histidine catabolism. 3. The pathway of histidine degradation in this organism, a non-fluorescent Pseudomonad, is shown to be the same as that operating in Pseudomonas fluorescens and Pseudomonas putida. It consists of the successive formation of urocanate, imidazol-4-on-5-ylpropionate, N-formimino-l-glutamate, N-formyl-l-glutamate and glutamate. 4. Whole cells of P. testosteroni accumulate urocanate in the reaction mixture when incubated with imidazolylpropionate, but only after an adaptive lag period which is removed by previous growth on imidazolylpropionate as the source of carbon. 5. Imidazolyl-lactate is oxidized to imidazolylpyruvate, which then gives rise to histidine by specific transamination with l-glutamate. 6. Cells grown on histidine, urocanate or imidazolylpropionate are also able to degrade imidazolyllactate. 7. Mutants lacking urocanase are unable to grow on imidazolylpropionate, imidazolyl-lactate, histidine or urocanate. One with impaired histidase activity cannot utilize histidine or imidazolyl-lactate, but grows normally on imidazolylpropionate or urocanate. A mutant unable to grow on imidazolylpropionate is indistinguishable from the wild-type with respect to growth on histidine, imidazolyl-lactate or urocanate. 8. Thus it is established that imidazolyl-lactate is metabolized via histidine whereas imidazolylpropionate enters the histidine degradation pathway after conversion into urocanate.

MeSH terms

  • Acrylates / metabolism
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Cell-Free System
  • Chromatography, Paper
  • Electrophoresis, Paper
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Histidine / metabolism*
  • Histidine Ammonia-Lyase / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Imidazoles / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Lactates / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Propionates / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas / enzymology
  • Pseudomonas / metabolism*
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • Time Factors
  • Urocanate Hydratase / metabolism


  • Acrylates
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Imidazoles
  • Lactates
  • Propionates
  • Histidine
  • Urocanate Hydratase
  • Histidine Ammonia-Lyase