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Mol Cell. 2003 Sep;12(3):603-13.

Retroviral insertional mutagenesis identifies a small protein required for synthesis of diphthamide, the target of bacterial ADP-ribosylating toxins.

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  • 1Microbial Pathogenesis Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Retroviral insertional mutagenesis was used to produce a mutant Chinese hamster ovary cell line that is completely resistant to several different bacterial ADP-ribosylating toxins. The gene responsible for toxin resistance, termed diphtheria toxin (DT) and Pseudomonas exotoxin A (ETA) sensitivity required gene 1 (DESR1), encodes two small protein isoforms of 82 and 57 residues. DESR1 is evolutionally conserved and ubiquitously expressed. Only the longer isoform is functional because the mutant cell line can be complemented by transfection with the long but not the short isoform. We demonstrate that DESR1 is required for the first step in the posttranslational modification of elongation factor-2 at His(715) that yields diphthamide, the target site for ADP ribosylation by DT and ETA. KTI11, the analog of DESR1 in yeast, which was originally identified as a gene regulating the sensitivity of yeast to zymocin, is also required for diphthamide biosynthesis, implicating DESR1/KTI11 in multiple biological processes.

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