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Received May 30, 2015
Pathways of synthesis of the α-reactive carbonyl compound methylglyoxal (MG) in prokaryotes are described in this review. Accumulation of MG leads to development of carbonyl stress. Some pathways of MG formation are similar for both pro- and eukaryotes, but there are reactions specific for prokaryotes, e.g. the methylglyoxal synthase reaction. This reaction and the glyoxalase system constitute an alternative pathway of glucose catabolism – the MG shunt not associated with the synthesis of ATP. In violation of the regulation of metabolism, the cell uses MG shunt as well as other glycolysis shunting pathways and futile cycles enabling stabilization of its energetic status. MG was first examined as a biologically active metabolic factor participating in the formation of phenotypic polymorphism and hyperpersistent potential of bacterial populations. The study of carbonyl stress is interesting for evolutionary biology and can be useful for constructing highly effective producer strains.
KEY WORDS: carbonyl stress, bacteria, methylglyoxal, metabolite overproduction