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J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 13;274(33):23565-9.

The extremely conserved pyroA gene of Aspergillus nidulans is required for pyridoxine synthesis and is required indirectly for resistance to photosensitizers.

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  • 1Henry Hood Research Program, Weis Center for Research, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Danville, Pennsylvania 17822, USA.


Numerous disparate studies in plants, filamentous fungi, yeast, Archaea, and bacteria have identified one of the most highly conserved proteins (SNZ family) for which no function was previously defined. Members have been implicated in the stress response of plants and yeast and resistance to singlet oxygen toxicity in the plant pathogen Cercospora. However, it is found in some anaerobic bacteria and is absent in some aerobic bacteria. We have cloned the Aspergillus nidulans homologue (pyroA) of this highly conserved gene and define this gene family as encoding an enzyme specifically required for pyridoxine biosynthesis. This realization has enabled us to define a second pathway for pyridoxine biosynthesis. Some bacteria utilize the pdx pyridoxine biosynthetic pathway defined in Escherichia coli and others utilize the pyroA pathway. However, Eukarya and Archaea exclusively use the pyroA pathway. We also found that pyridoxine is destroyed in the presence of singlet oxygen, helping to explain the connection to singlet oxygen sensitivity defined in Cercospora. These data bring clarity to the previously confusing data on this gene family. However, a new conundrum now exists; why have highly related bacteria evolved with different pathways for pyridoxine biosynthesis?

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