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Amino Acids. 1999;17(2):185-93.

Utilization of D-amino acids by Fusobacterium nucleatum and Fusobacterium varium.

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Department of Chemistry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


The utilization of D- and L-amino acids with acidic, basic or polar side chains was demonstrated by HPLC. Two species of the anaerobe Fusobacterium utilized D-lysine and the L isomers of glutamate, glutamine, histidine, lysine and serine. Only F. varium used L-arginine, D-glutamate and D-serine as substrates, whereas F. nucleatum specifically utilized D-histidine and D-glutamine. D-Glutamate accumulated in F. nucleatum cultures supplemented with D-glutamine, and ornithine was detected when either DL- or L-arginine was included in F. varium cultures. Based on literature precedents, D-glutamate and D-histidine are isomerized to their L isomers prior to degradation, but separate catabolic pathways are possible for each enantiomer of lysine and serine.

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