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Gene Review

cysE  -  serine acetyltransferase

Escherichia coli UTI89

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Disease relevance of cysE

  • When a tnaA-disrupted E. coli strain expressing the altered cysE gene was transformed with a plasmid carrying the bcr gene, the transformant exhibited more L-cysteine production than cells carrying the vector only [1].

High impact information on cysE

  • T. vaginalis appears to lack serine acetyltransferase, the source of O-acetylserine in many cells, but has a functional 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase and an O-phosphoserine aminotransferase that together result in the production of O-phosphoserine, suggesting that this is the physiological substrate [2].
  • In contrast, the growth of an DeltayrhA mutant or a luxS mutant, inactivated for the S-ribosyl-homocysteinase step of the S-adenosylmethionine recycling pathway, was strongly reduced with methionine, whereas a DeltayrhA DeltacysK or cysE mutant did not grow at all under the same conditions [3].
  • We previously found a marked production of L-cysteine from glucose in recombinant Escherichia coli cells expressing an altered cysE gene encoding feedback inhibition-insensitive serine acetyltransferase [1].
  • To increase the cysteine content of the commercial potato cultivar White Lady the chimeric SAT-coding cysE gene from Escherichia coli under the control of the constitutive CaMV 35S promoter and fused to the chloroplast targeting rbcS 5'-transit peptide sequence was introduced into the White Lady genome [4].
  • Cysteine is synthesised from O-acetyl-l-serine formed by serine acetyltransferase (SAT) [4].

Biological context of cysE

  • OASS-B did not form a complex with E. coli serine acetyltransferase (SAT, EC and showed a wide range of substrate specificity in nonproteinaceous amino acid synthesis [5].


  1. Effect of drug transporter genes on cysteine export and overproduction in Escherichia coli. Yamada, S., Awano, N., Inubushi, K., Maeda, E., Nakamori, S., Nishino, K., Yamaguchi, A., Takagi, H. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  2. Cysteine biosynthesis in trichomonas vaginalis involves cysteine synthase utilizing O-phosphoserine. Westrop, G.D., Goodall, G., Mottram, J.C., Coombs, G.H. J. Biol. Chem. (2006) [Pubmed]
  3. Conversion of Methionine to Cysteine in Bacillus subtilis and Its Regulation. Hullo, M.F., Auger, S., Soutourina, O., Barzu, O., Yvon, M., Danchin, A., Martin-Verstraete, I. J. Bacteriol. (2007) [Pubmed]
  4. Improving the nutritive value of tubers: Elevation of cysteine and glutathione contents in the potato cultivar White Lady by marker-free transformation. Stiller, I., Dancs, G., Hesse, H., Hoefgen, R., Bánfalvi, Z. J. Biotechnol. (2007) [Pubmed]
  5. Cloning, overexpression, purification, and characterization of O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B from Escherichia coli. Zhao, C., Kumada, Y., Imanaka, H., Imamura, K., Nakanishi, K. Protein Expr. Purif. (2006) [Pubmed]
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