The glutamine synthetase of Prevotella bryantii B(1)4 is a family III enzyme (GlnN) and glutamine supports growth of mutants lacking glutamate dehydrogenase activity.
Prevotella ruminicola B(1)4 possesses both NADPH- and NADH-linked glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) activities, with the greatest specific activity being measured from ammonia-limited cultures. Relative to cells grown in the presence of 1 mM ammonium chloride, the NADPH-dependent activity was decreased approximately 10-fold when peptides were provided as a nitrogen source. Nondenaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) was used to visualize the GDH protein(s) in cell extracts of P. ruminicola. For all growth conditions tested, only one GDH protein was detectable, and its relative abundance, as well as its reactivity with either NAD(P)+ or NAD(P)H, correlated well with the specific activities measured from whole-cell assays. Consistent with the findings from enzyme assays and PAGE activity gels, Northern (RNA) blot analysis revealed that expression of a gene encoding NAD(P)H-GDH activity was greatest in ammonia-grown cultures and that GDH activity is regulated in response to nitrogen source (ammonia versus peptides), probably at the level of transcription. A gene encoding the NAD(P)H-utilizing GDH activity (gdhA) was cloned, and its nucleotide sequence was determined and shown to contain an open reading frame of 1,332 bp which would encode a polypeptide of 48.8 kDa. The deduced amino acid sequence possesses three highly conserved motifs typical of family I GDHs, but several unique amino acid substitutions within these motifs were evident. These results are discussed within the context of ruminal nitrogen metabolism and the growth efficiency of succinate- and propionate-producing anaerobic bacteria.