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

Role of D-cysteine desulfhydrase in the adaptation of Escherichia coli to D-cysteine.

D-cysteine, a powerful inhibitor of Escherichia coli growth, is decomposed in vitro into pyruvate, H2S, and NH3 by D-cysteine desulfhydrase. To assess the role of this reaction in the adaptation of the bacterium to growth on D-cysteine, the gene of the desulfhydrase was cloned. It corresponds to the open reading frame yedO at 43.03 min on the genetic map of E. coli. The amino acid sequence deduced from this gene is homologous to those of several 1-aminocyclopropane-carboxylate deaminases. However, the E. coli desulfhydrase does not use 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate as substrate. Various mutants in which the yedO gene was inactivated or overexpressed were constructed. They exhibited hypersensitivity or resistance, respectively, to the presence of d-cysteine in the culture medium. Growth protection against D-cysteine in minimal medium was conferred by the simultaneous addition of isoleucine, leucine, and valine. In agreement with this behavior, D-cysteine inhibited the activity of threonine deaminase, a key enzyme of the isoleucine, leucine, and valine pathway. Finally, in the presence of the intact yedO gene, E. coli growth was improved by addition of D-cysteine as the sole sulfur source. In agreement with a role of the desulfhydrase in sulfur metabolism, yedO expression was induced under conditions of sulfate limitation.[1]


  1. Role of D-cysteine desulfhydrase in the adaptation of Escherichia coli to D-cysteine. Soutourina, J., Blanquet, S., Plateau, P. J. Biol. Chem. (2001) [Pubmed]
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