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

MalY of Escherichia coli is an enzyme with the activity of a beta C-S lyase (cystathionase).

The Escherichia coli maltose system consists of a number of genes whose products are involved in the uptake and metabolism of maltose and maltodextrins. MalT is the central positive gene activator of the regulon and is, together with the cyclic AMP-catabolite gene activator protein system, necessary for the expression of the maltose genes. Expression of malY, a MalT-independent gene, leads to the repression of all MalT-dependent genes. We have purified MalY to homogeneity and found it to be a pyridoxal-5-phosphate-containing enzyme with the enzymatic activity of a beta C-S lyase (cystathionase). MalY is a monomeric protein of 42,000 to 44,000 Da. Strains expressing MalY constitutively abolish the methionine requirement of metC mutants. The enzymatic activity of MetC, the cleavage of cystathionine to homocysteine, ammonia, and pyruvate, can be catalyzed by MalY. However, the cystathionase activity is not required for the function of MalY in repressing the maltose system. By site-directed mutagenesis, we changed the conserved lysine residue at the pyridoxal phosphate binding site (position 233) of MalY to isoleucine. This abolished beta C-S lyase activity but not the ability of the protein to repress the maltose system. Also, the overexpression of plasmid-encoded metC did not affect mal gene expression, nor did the deduced amino acid sequence of MetC show homology to that of MalY.[1]


  1. MalY of Escherichia coli is an enzyme with the activity of a beta C-S lyase (cystathionase). Zdych, E., Peist, R., Reidl, J., Boos, W. J. Bacteriol. (1995) [Pubmed]
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