Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 23;279(17):17142-7. Epub 2004 Feb 9.

Thiamine triphosphate, a new signal required for optimal growth of Escherichia coli during amino acid starvation.

Author information

  • 1Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Liège, 17, place Delcour, 4020 Liège, Belgium.


Thiamine triphosphate (ThTP) is present in low amounts in most organisms from bacteria to humans, but its biological role remains unknown. Escherichia coli grown aerobically in LB medium contain no detectable amounts of ThTP, but when they are transferred to M9 minimal medium with a substrate such as glucose or pyruvate, there is a rapid but transient accumulation of relatively high amounts of ThTP (about 20% of total thiamine). If a mixture of amino acids is present in addition to glucose, ThTP accumulation is impaired, suggesting that the latter may occur in response to amino acid starvation. To test the importance of ThTP for bacterial growth, we used an E. coli strain overexpressing a specific human recombinant thiamine triphosphatase as a glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion protein (GST-ThTPase). Those bacteria were unable to accumulate measurable amounts of ThTP. On minimal medium supplemented with glucose, pyruvate, or acetate, they exhibited an intermediate plateau in cell growth compared with control bacteria expressing GST alone or a GST fusion protein unrelated to thiamine metabolism. These results suggest that the early accumulation of ThTP initiates a reaction cascade involved in the adaptation of bacteria to stringent conditions such as amino acid starvation. This is the first demonstration of a physiological role of this ubiquitous compound in any organism.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center