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Arch Microbiol. 2001 Dec;177(1):113-6. Epub 2001 Oct 3.

Selenium-dependent growth of Treponema denticola: evidence for a clostridial-type glycine reductase.

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  • 1Institut für Genetik und Mikrobiologie der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie, Maria-Ward-Strasse 1a, 80638 Munich, Germany.


Assessment of the nutritional requirements of Treponema denticola disclosed a strict growth dependence on selenium. In vivo labeling of cells of this organism with (75)Se and electrophoretic analysis revealed three labeled bands, two of which were selenoproteins correlating in size with subunits A and B of glycine reductase. Antibodies directed against glycine- or betaine-reductase subunits of Eubacterium acidaminophilum specifically also reacted with proteins from cell lysates of T. denticola. Moreover, ORFs within the T. denticola genome sequence were found whose products display high sequence similarity to glycine-reductase subunits. These findings strongly support the notion that T. denticola ferments amino acids via the activity of glycine reductase, an enzyme previously thought to be restricted to gram-positive bacteria.

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