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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Feb 7;301(2):558-63.

Conservation and cloning of CYP51: a sterol 14 alpha-demethylase from Mycobacterium smegmatis.

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Wolfson Laboratory of P450 Biodiversity, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Wales, SY23 3DA, UK.


The genetic locus encoding cytochrome P450 51 (CYP51; P450(14DM)) in Mycobacterium smegmatis is described here together with confirmation of activity in lanosterol 14 alpha-demethylation. The protein bound azole antifungals with high affinity and the rank order based on affinity matched the ranked order for microbiological sensitivity of the organism, thus supporting a possible role for CYP51 as a target in the antimycobacterial activity of these compounds. Non-saponifiable lipids were extracted from the bacteria grown on minimal medium. Unlike a previous report using growth on complex medium, no cholesterol was detected in two strains of M. smegmatis, but a novel lipid was detected. The genetic locus of CYP51 is discussed in relation to function; it is conserved as part of a putative operon in M. smegmatis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium, and Mycobacterium bovis and consists of six open-reading frames including two CYPs and a ferredoxin under a putative Tet-R regulated promoter.

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