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J Biol Chem. 2005 Sep 16;280(37):32254-61. Epub 2005 Jul 22.

A bacterial glutathione transporter (Escherichia coli CydDC) exports reductant to the periplasm.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Firth Court, The University of Sheffield, UK.


Glutathione (GSH), a major biological antioxidant, maintains redox balance in prokaryotes and eukaryotic cells and forms exportable conjugates with compounds of pharmacological and agronomic importance. However, no GSH transporter has been characterized in a prokaryote. We show here that a heterodimeric ATP-binding cassette-type transporter, CydDC, mediates GSH transport across the Escherichia coli cytoplasmic membrane. In everted membrane vesicles, GSH is imported via an ATP-driven, protonophore-insensitive, orthovanadate-sensitive mechanism, equating with export to the periplasm in intact cells. GSH transport and cytochrome bd quinol oxidase assembly are abolished in the cydD1 mutant. Glutathione disulfide (GSSG) was not transported in either Cyd(+) or Cyd(-) strains. Exogenous GSH restores defective swarming motility and benzylpenicillin sensitivity in a cydD mutant and also benzylpenicillin sensitivity in a gshA mutant defective in GSH synthesis. Overexpression of the cydDC operon in dsbD mutants defective in disulfide bond formation restores dithiothreitol tolerance and periplasmic cytochrome b assembly, revealing redundant pathways for reductant export to the periplasm. These results identify the first prokaryotic GSH transporter and indicate a key role for GSH in periplasmic redox homeostasis.

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