The gluconate shunt is an alternative route for directing glucose into the pentose phosphate pathway in fission yeast.J Biol Chem. 2017 08 18; 292(33):13823-13832.JB
Glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway both play a central role in the degradation of glucose in all domains of life. Another metabolic route that can facilitate glucose breakdown is the gluconate shunt. In this shunt glucose dehydrogenase and gluconate kinase catalyze the two-step conversion of glucose into the pentose phosphate pathway intermediate 6-phosphogluconate. Despite the presence of these enzymes in many organisms, their only established role is in the production of 6-phosphogluconate for the Entner-Doudoroff pathway. In this report we performed metabolic profiling on a strain of Schizosaccharomyces pombe lacking the zinc-responsive transcriptional repressor Loz1 with the goal of identifying metabolic pathways that were altered by cellular zinc status. This profiling revealed that loz1Δ cells accumulate higher levels of gluconate. We show that the altered gluconate levels in loz1Δ cells result from increased expression of gcd1 By analyzing the activity of recombinant Gcd1 in vitro and by measuring gluconate levels in strains lacking enzymes of the gluconate shunt we demonstrate that Gcd1 encodes a novel NADP+-dependent glucose dehydrogenase that acts in a pathway with the Idn1 gluconate kinase. We also find that cells lacking gcd1 and zwf1, which encode the first enzyme in the pentose phosphate pathway, have a more severe growth phenotype than cells lacking zwf1 We propose that in S. pombe Gcd1 and Idn1 act together to shunt glucose into the pentose phosphate pathway, creating an alternative route for directing glucose into the pentose phosphate pathway that bypasses hexokinase and the rate-limiting enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.