In the synthesis of enzymes involved in autotrophic CO fixation via the Calvin cycle is regulated by repression/derepression. During growth of the organism on fructose alone, the synthesis of ribulosebisphosphate carboxylase (RuBPCase) remained fully repressed, both in batch culture and in fructose-limited continuous cultures at various dilution rates. Growth in batch culture on a mixture of fructose and formate resulted in the simultaneous utilization of both substrates. Under these conditions we observed synthesis of RuBPCase up to high levels, indicating that formate did not merely function as an ancillary energy source in the metabolism of fructose, but stimulated autotrophic CO fixation via the Calvin cycle. In subsequent experiments growth of on mixtures of fructose and formate was studied in carbon source-limited continuous cultures. In these experiments further evidence was obtained that fructose is a poor source of (co-)repressor molecules for the synthesis of RuBPCase in the presence of formate. Thus, addition of formate to the medium reservoir of a fructose-limited continuous culture resulted in derepression of RuBPCase synthesis at (relatively) high ratios of fructose over formate. In the reverse experiment the specific activity of RuBPCase decreased with increasing concentrations of fructose in the medium reservoir. However, it can be calculated that the total capacity of RuBPCase in the culture to fix CO remained constant. In these experiments the dry weight produced on the various mixtures equalled the sum of the dry weight values obtained during growth on the same amounts of the two substrates separately. This indicated that, once RuBPCase was present, autotrophic and heterotrophic carbon assimilation pathways functioned simultaneously and independently of each other. Possible explanations for the low repressing effect of fructose on autotrophic CO fixation in are discussed.


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