Long chain acyl-acyl carrier protein (acyl-ACP) has been implicated as a physiological inhibitor of fatty acid biosynthesis since acyl-ACP degradation by thioesterase overexpression leads to constitutive, unregulated fatty acid production. The biochemical targets for acyl-ACP inhibition were unknown, and this work identified two biosynthetic enzymes that were sensitive to acyl-ACP feedback inhibition. Palmitoyl-ACP inhibited the incorporation of [C-14]malonyl-CoA into long chain fatty acids in cell-free extracts of Escherichia coli. A short chain acyl-ACP species with the electrophoretic properties of beta-hydroxybutyryl-ACP accumulated concomitant with the overall decrease in the amount of [C-14]malonyl-CoA incorporation, indicating that the first elongation cycle was targeted by acyl-ACP. All of the proteins required to catalyze the first round of fatty acid synthesis from acetyl-CoA plus malonyl-CoA in vivo were isolated, and the first fatty acid elongation cycle was reconstituted with these purified components. Analysis of the individual enzymes and the pattern of intermediate accumulation in the reconstituted system identified initiation of fatty acid synthesis by beta-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III (fabH) and enoyl-ACP reductase (fabI) in the elongation cycle as two steps attenuated by long chain acyl-ACP.
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