Impact of genome reduction on bacterial metabolism and its regulation.
To understand basic principles of bacterial metabolism organization and regulation, but also the impact of genome size, we systematically studied one of the smallest bacteria, Mycoplasma pneumoniae. A manually curated metabolic network of 189 reactions catalyzed by 129 enzymes allowed the design of a defined, minimal medium with 19 essential nutrients. More than 1300 growth curves were recorded in the presence of various nutrient concentrations. Measurements of biomass indicators, metabolites, and (13)C-glucose experiments provided information on directionality, fluxes, and energetics; integration with transcription profiling enabled the global analysis of metabolic regulation. Compared with more complex bacteria, the M. pneumoniae metabolic network has a more linear topology and contains a higher fraction of multifunctional enzymes; general features such as metabolite concentrations, cellular energetics, adaptability, and global gene expression responses are similar, however.