The reductive glycine pathway allows autotrophic growth of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans

Irene Sánchez-Andrea*, Iame Alves Guedes, Bastian Hornung, Sjef Boeren, Christopher E. Lawson, Diana Z. Sousa, Arren Bar-Even, Nico J. Claassens, Alfons J.M. Stams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Six CO2 fixation pathways are known to operate in photoautotrophic and chemoautotrophic microorganisms. Here, we describe chemolithoautotrophic growth of the sulphate-reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans (strain G11) with hydrogen and sulphate as energy substrates. Genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic analyses reveal that D. desulfuricans assimilates CO2 via the reductive glycine pathway, a seventh CO2 fixation pathway. In this pathway, CO2 is first reduced to formate, which is reduced and condensed with a second CO2 to generate glycine. Glycine is further reduced in D. desulfuricans by glycine reductase to acetyl-P, and then to acetyl-CoA, which is condensed with another CO2 to form pyruvate. Ammonia is involved in the operation of the pathway, which is reflected in the dependence of the autotrophic growth rate on the ammonia concentration. Our study demonstrates microbial autotrophic growth fully supported by this highly ATP-efficient CO2 fixation pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5090
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2020

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