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

The biosynthesis of trypanothione and N1-glutathionylspermidine in Crithidia fasciculata.

Studies on the biosynthesis of trypanothione [N1,N8-bis(glutathionyl)-spermidine] in the insect trypanosomatid Crithidia fasciculata have led to the discovery of an additional sulfur-containing peptide conjugated to spermidine. Labelling studies with [3H]spermidine show that 50% of the total intracellular spermidine is incorporated into peptide conjugates, the major component being N1-glutathionylspermidine. This compound has previously been identified in Escherichia coli, as the principal low molecular weight thiol in stationary phase, but not the logarithmic phase of growth. In contrast, in C. fasciculata, this compound is present in all phases of growth. In the presence of glutathione and ATP, extracts of C. fasciculata can catalyse conversion of spermidine to N1-glutathionylspermidine and trypanothione. Both N1- and N8-regioisomers of glutathionylspermidine will replace spermidine in the reaction, suggesting they may be intermediates in the biosynthetic pathway to trypanothione. The antiprotozoal drugs berenil, pentamidine, ethidium bromide, imidocarb, methylglyoxal-bis(guanylhydrazone) and 1,3-diacetylbenzene-bis(guanylhydrazone) had no effect on the synthesis of N1-glutathionylspermidine or trypanothione in vitro.[1]


  1. The biosynthesis of trypanothione and N1-glutathionylspermidine in Crithidia fasciculata. Fairlamb, A.H., Henderson, G.B., Cerami, A. Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. (1986) [Pubmed]
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