Summary: Activities of the enzymes which are involved in the poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) cycle, in both synthesis and degradation reactions, were assayed in crude extracts of cells containing different amounts of PHB. The enzymes of the PHB cycle, of both the synthesis and the degradation process, were more active in PHB-rich cells than in PHB-poor cells. During 96 h of starvation of cells suspended in phosphate buffer, enzymes of the PHB cycle were more active in PHB-rich cells. There was a peak of activity of hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase (BOHB-DH), β-ketothiolase and thiophorase after 24 h of starvation, due to polymer degradation. During the following hours of starvation there was a decrease in the activity of these enzymes. After 24 h of starvation the activity of acetoacetyl-CoA reductase dropped to a minimum level, because the cells could not synthesize PHB under these conditions. The specific activities of BOHB-DH, β-ketothiolase and thiophorase were higher in cells which were grown under low oxygen tension and consequently accumulated high levels of PHB, than in cells grown under high oxygen tension, with a low PHB content. Similarities to the pathway of PHB biosynthesis and degradation and its control in are described.


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