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In Escherichia coli, the main player in transcription regulation of fatty acid metabolism is the FadR protein, which is involved in negative regulation of fatty acid degradation and in positive and negative regulation of the cellular processes related to it, as well as in positive regulation of the biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids in a concerted manner with negative regulation of FabR. On the other hand, Bacillus subtilis possesses two global transcriptional regulators, FadR (YsiA) and FapR. B. subtilis FadR represses fatty acid degradation, whereas FapR represses almost all the processes in the biosynthesis of saturated fatty acids and phospholipids. Furthermore, Streptococcus pneumoniae FabT represses the genes of fatty acid biosynthesis that are clustered in its genome. Long-chain acyl-CoAs appear to be metabolic signals for fatty acid degradation by bacteria in general, and antagonize the FadR protein from either E. coli or B. subtilis. However, malonyl-CoA is a metabolic signal for fatty acid and phospholipid biosynthesis by Gram-positive low-GC bacteria, and it antagonizes FapR. These would be the primary aspects for understanding the elaborate and complex regulation of fatty acid metabolism in bacteria to maintain membrane lipid homeostasis.


Yasutaro Fujita, Hiroshi Matsuoka, Kazutake Hirooka. Regulation of fatty acid metabolism in bacteria. Molecular microbiology. 2007 Nov;66(4):829-39

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PMID: 17919287

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