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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2006 Aug;72(1):30-40. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

Recent progress in understanding thiamin biosynthesis and its genetic regulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8334, Japan.


The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is able to synthesize thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) de novo, which involves the independent formation of two ring structures, 2-methyl-4-amino-5-hydroxymethylpyrimidine and 4-methyl-5-beta-hydroxyethylthiazole, in the early steps. In addition, this organism can efficiently utilize thiamin from the extracellular environment to produce TPP. Nineteen genes involved in the synthesis of TPP and the utilization of thiamin (THI genes) have been identified, and the function of several THI genes has been elucidated. All THI genes participating in the synthesis of the pyrimidine unit belong to multigene families. It is also intriguing that some thiamin biosynthetic proteins are composed of two distinct domains or form an enzyme complex. The expression of THI genes is coordinately induced in response to thiamin starvation. It is likely that the induction of THI genes is activated by a positive regulatory factor complex and that the protein-protein interaction among the factors is disturbed by TPP. Thiamin-hyperproducing yeast and fermented food containing a high content of thiamin are expected to be available in the future based on the progress in understanding thiamin biosynthesis and its genetic regulation in S. cerevisiae.

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