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Microb Cell Fact. 2004 Jun 16;3(1):8.

The role of bacterial antizyme: From an inhibitory protein to AtoC transcriptional regulator.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, 54124, Greece.


This review considers the role of bacterial antizyme in the regulation of polyamine biosynthesis and gives new perspectives on the involvement of antizyme in other significant cellular mechanisms. Antizyme is a protein molecule induced by the end product of the enzymic reaction that it inhibits, in a non-competitive manner. The bacterial ornithine decarboxylase is regulated by nucleotides, phosphorylation and antizyme. The inhibition of ornithine decarboxylase by antizyme can be relieved to different degrees by DNA or by a variety of synthetic nucleic acid polymers, attributed to a specific interaction between nucleic acid and antizyme. Recently, this interplay between bacterial antizyme and nucleic acid was determined by discerning an additional function to antizyme that proved to be the atoC gene product, encoding the response regulator of the bacterial two-component system AtoS-AtoC. The gene located just upstream of atoC encodes the sensor kinase, named AtoS, that modulates AtoC activity. AtoC regulates expression of atoDAEB operon which is involved in short-chain fatty acid metabolism. Antizyme is thus referred to as AtoC, functioning both as a post-translational and transcriptional regulator. Also, the AtoS-AtoC signal transduction system in E. coli has a positive regulatory role on poly-(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate biosynthesis. The properties and gene structural similarities of antizymes from different organisms were compared. It was revealed that conserved domains are present mostly in the C-domain of all antizymes. BLAST analysis of the E. coli antizyme protein (AtoC) showed similarities around 69-58% among proteobacteria, g-proteobacteria, enterobacteria and the thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus. A working hypothesis is proposed for the metabolic role of antizyme (AtoC) describing the significant biological implications of this protein molecule. Whether antizymes exist to other enzymes in different tissues, meeting the criteria discussed in the text remains to be elucidated.

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