Utilization and metabolism of urea during spore germination by Geotrichum candidum

J. Shorer*, Ilana Zelmanowicz, I. Barash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Urea can serve as a sole N2 source for spore germination of Geotrichum candidum which lakcs urease. However, when endogenous urea concentration exceeded 50 μmole/g dry wt., a significant inhibition of protein synthesis and spore germination occurred. At external urea concentration of 5 × 10-3 M, approximately 95% of the urea-14C assimilated by the spores evolved as 14CO2. Urea-14C incorporation showed temperature and pH dependence and obeyed saturation kinetics. The uptake of urea was completely inhibited by 10-3 M NaN3. A sharp increase in the accumulation of endogenous urea was detected when extracellular urea exceeded 6 × 10-2 M. The latter increase was proportional to external substrate concentration until it reached about 1·5 × 10-1 M. Most of the labelled C incorporated into germinated spores during 15 min feeding period with either urea-14C or NaH14CO3 (with ammonia), was located in the cationic fraction. However, whereas citrulline, aspartate and glutamate were concurrently labelled immediately following NaH14CO3 incorporation, citrulline was preferentially labelled when the germinated spores were fed with urea-14C. ATP:urea amidolyase (UALase) was purified approximately 126 fold from germinated spores of G. candidum. The enzymes had an optimum pH of 7·8 and the Km values for ATP and urea were 1-3 × 10-3 M and 1·4 × 10-4 M respectively. Avidin and KF were potent inhibitors of UALase activity. Attempts to demonstrate either enzyme induction by urea or enzyme repression by ammonia gave negative results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-605
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1972


  • Fungi
  • Geotrichum candidum
  • spore germination
  • urea utilisation


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