Quinoprotein content and levels of external pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) were determined for several bacteria under a variety of growth conditions. From these data and those from the literature, a number of factors can be indicated which are relevant for PQQ production. Synthesis of PQQ is only started if synthesis of a quinoprotein occurs, but quinoprotein synthesis does not depend on PQQ synthesis. The presence of quinoprotein substrates is not necessary for quinoprotein and PQQ syntheses. Although the extent of PQQ production was determined by the type of organism and quinoprotein produced, coordination between quinoprotein and PQQ syntheses is loose, since underproduction and overproduction of PQQ with respect to quinoprotein were observed. The results can be interpreted to indicate that quinoprotein synthesis depends on the growth rate whereas PQQ synthesis does not. In that view, the highest PQQ production can be achieved under limiting growth conditions, as was shown indeed by the much higher levels of PQQ produced in fed-batch cultures compared with those produced in batch experiments. The presence of nucleophiles, especially amino acids, in culture media may cause losses of PQQ due to transformation into biologically inactive compounds. Some organisms continued to synthesize PQQ de novo when this cofactor was administered exogenously. Most probably PQQ cannot be taken up by either passive diffusion or active transport mechanisms and is therefore not able to exert feedback regulation on its biosynthesis in these organisms.
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