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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mycobacterium tuberculosis possesses a functional enzyme for the synthesis of vitamin C, L-gulono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase.

The last step of the biosynthesis of l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in plants and animals is catalyzed by l-gulono-1,4-lactone oxidoreductases, which use both l-gulono-1,4-lactone and l-galactono-1,4-lactone as substrates. l-Gulono-1,4-lactone oxidase is missing in scurvy-prone, vitamin C-deficient animals, such as humans and guinea pigs, which are also highly susceptible to tuberculosis. A blast search using the rat l-gulono-1,4-lactone oxidase sequence revealed the presence of closely related orthologs in a limited number of bacterial species, including several pathogens of human lungs, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia and Bacillus anthracis. The genome of M. tuberculosis, the etiologic agent of tuberculosis, encodes a protein (Rv1771) that shows 32% identity with the rat l-gulono-1,4-lactone oxidase protein. The Rv1771 gene was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the corresponding protein was affinity-purified and characterized. The FAD-binding motif-containing Rv1771 protein is a metalloenzyme that oxidizes l-gulono-1,4-lactone (K(m) 5.5 mm) but not l-galactono-1,4-lactone. The enzyme has a dehydrogenase activity and can use both cytochrome c (K(m) 4.7 microm) and phenazine methosulfate as exogenous electron acceptors. Molecular oxygen does not serve as a substrate for the Rv1771 protein. Dehydrogenase activity was measured in cellular extracts of a Mycobacterium bovis BCG strain. In conclusion, M. tuberculosis produces a novel, highly specific l-gulono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase (Rv1771) and has the capacity to synthesize vitamin C.[1]


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