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

Glutathione synthesis in Streptococcus agalactiae. One protein accounts for gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase and glutathione synthetase activities.

Gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS) and glutathione synthetase (GS), distinct enzymes that together account for glutathione (GSH) synthesis, have been isolated and characterized from several Gram-negative prokaryotes and from numerous eukaryotes including mammals, amphibians, plants, yeast, and protozoa. Glutathione synthesis is relatively uncommon among the Gram-positive bacteria, and, to date, neither the genes nor the proteins involved have been identified. In the present report, we show that crude extracts of Streptococcus agalactiae catalyze the gamma-GCS and GS reactions and can synthesize GSH from its constituent amino acids. The putative gene for S. agalactiae gamma-GCS was identified and cloned, and the corresponding protein was expressed and purified. Surprisingly, it was found that the isolated enzyme catalyzes both the ATP-dependent synthesis of L-gamma-glutamyl-L-cysteine from L-glutamate and L-cysteine and the ATP-dependent synthesis of GSH from L-gamma-glutamyl-L-cysteine and glycine. This novel bifunctional enzyme, referred to as gamma-GCS-GS, has been characterized in terms of catalytic activity, substrate specificity, and inhibition by GSH, cystamine, and transition state analog sulfoximines. The N-terminal 518 amino acids of gamma-GCS-GS (total M(r) 85,000) show 32% identity and 43% similarity with E. coli gamma-GCS (M(r) 58,000), but the C-terminal putative GS domain (remaining 202 amino acids) of gamma-GCS-GS shows no significant homology with known GS sequences. The C terminus (360 amino acids) is, however, homologous to D-Ala, D-Ala ligase (24% identity; 38% similarity), an enzyme having the same protein fold as known GS proteins. These results are discussed in terms of the evolution of GSH synthesis and the possible occurrence of a similar bifunctional GSH synthesis enzyme in other bacterial species.[1]


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