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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 30;279(5):3354-60. Epub 2003 Nov 10.

The prodrug activator EtaA from Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands.


EtaA is a newly identified FAD-containing monooxygenase that is responsible for activation of several thioamide prodrugs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It was found that purified EtaA displays a remarkably low activity with the antitubercular prodrug ethionamide. Hinted by the presence of a Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase sequence motif in the EtaA sequence, we have been able to identify a large number of novel EtaA substrates. It was discovered that the enzyme converts a wide range of ketones to the corresponding esters or lactones via a Baeyer-Villiger reaction, indicating that EtaA represents a Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase. With the exception of aromatic ketones (phenylacetone and benzylacetone), long-chain ketones (e.g. 2-hexanone and 2-dodecanone) also are converted. EtaA is also able to catalyze enantioselective sulfoxidation of methyl-p-tolylsulfide. Conversion of all of the identified substrates is relatively slow with typical k(cat) values of around 0.02 s(-1). The best substrate identified so far is phenylacetone (K(m) = 61 microM, k(cat) = 0.017 s(-1)). Redox monitoring of the flavin cofactor during turnover of phenylacetone indicates that a step in the reductive half-reaction is limiting the rate of catalysis. Intriguingly, EtaA activity could be increased by one order of magnitude by adding bovine serum albumin. This reactivity and substrate acceptance-profiling study provides valuable information concerning this newly identified prodrug activator from M. tuberculosis.

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