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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Jan 1;182(1):105-9.

Light inhibits rifampicin inactivation and reduces rifampicin resistance due to a cloned mycobacterial ADP-ribosylation gene.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of the Witwatersrand, P.O. WITS 2050, Witwatersrand, South Africa.


Rifampicin is a principal drug used to combat infections by mycobacteria and related organisms. Most strains of Mycobacterium are able to inactivate this antibiotic by ribosylation via an ADP-ribosylated intermediate. We found that this inactivation was inhibited by light at levels similar to those prevailing in laboratory environments. Rifampicin resistance arising from the cloned ADP-ribosyl transferase was also greatly diminished at these light levels. The cloned Rhodococcus equi monooxygenase which inactivates this antibiotic by a different mechanism was, in contrast, not inhibited by light.

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