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Biochemistry. 2000 Sep 5;39(35):10739-46.

A novel mycothiol-dependent detoxification pathway in mycobacteria involving mycothiol S-conjugate amidase.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


Mycothiol, 1-D-myo-inosityl-2-(N-acetylcysteinyl)amido-2-deoxy-alpha-D-glucopyranoside (MSH), is composed of N-acetylcysteine (AcCys) amide linked to 1-D-myo-inosityl-2-amino-2-deoxy-alpha-D-glucopyranoside (GlcN-Ins) and is the major thiol produced by most actinomycetes. When Mycobacterium smegmatis was treated with the alkylating agent monobromobimane (mBBr), the cellular mycothiol was converted to its bimane derivative (MSmB). The latter was rapidly cleaved to produce GlcN-Ins and the bimane derivative of N-acetylcysteine (AcCySmB), a mercapturic acid that was rapidly exported from the cells into the medium. The other product of cleavage, GlcN-Ins, was retained in the cell and utilized in the resynthesis of mycothiol. The mycothiol S-conjugate amidase (amidase) responsible for cleaving MSmB was purified to homogeneity from M. smegmatis. A value of K(m) = 95 +/- 8 microM and a value of k(cat) = 8 s(-)(1) was determined for the amidase with MSmB as substrate. Activity with 100 microM mycothiol or with the monobromobimane derivative of 1-D-myo-inosityl-2-(L-cysteinyl)amido-2-deoxy-alpha-D-glucopyra nos ide (CySmB-GlcN-Ins) or of 2-(N-acetyl-L-cysteinyl)amido-2-deoxy-(alpha, beta)-D-glucopyranoside (AcCySmB-GlcN) was at least 10(3) lower than with 100 microM MSmB, demonstrating that the amidase is highly specific for S-conjugates of mycothiol. Conjugates of mycothiol with the antibiotic cerulenin, N-ethylmaleimide, 3-(N-maleimidopropionyl)-biocytin, and 7-diethylamino-3-(4'-maleimidylphenyl)-4-methylcoumarin also exhibited significant activity. The sequence of the amino-terminal 20 residues was determined, and an open reading frame (Rv1082) coding for 288 residues having an identical predicted amino-terminal amino acid sequence was identified in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome. The Rv1082 gene (mca) from M. tuberculosis was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the expressed protein was shown to have substrate specificity similar to the amidase from M. smegmatis. These results indicate that mycothiol and mycothiol S-conjugate amidase play an important role in the detoxification of alkylating agents and antibiotics.

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