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

The biosynthesis of cyclopropanated mycolic acids in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Identification and functional analysis of CMAS-2.

The major mycolic acid produced by Mycobacterium tuberculosis contains two cis-cyclopropanes in the meromycolate chain. The gene whose product cyclopropanates the proximal double bond was cloned by homology to a putative cyclopropane synthase identified from the Mycobacterium leprae genome sequencing project. This gene, named cma2, was sequenced and found to be 52% identical to cma1 (which cyclopropanates the distal double bond) and 73% identical to the gene from M. leprae. Both cma genes were found to be restricted in distribution to pathogenic species of mycobacteria. Expression of cma2 in Mycobacterium smegmatis resulted in the cyclopropanation of the proximal double bond in the alpha 1 series of mycolic acids. Coexpression of both cyclopropane synthases resulted in cyclopropanation of both centers, producing a molecule structurally similar to the M. tuberculosis alpha-dicyclopropyl mycolates. Differential scanning calorimetry of purified cell walls and mycolic acids demonstrated that cyclopropanation of the proximal position raised the observed transition temperature by 3 degrees C. These results suggest that cyclopropanation contributes to the structural integrity of the cell wall complex.[1]


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