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J Biol Chem. 1991 Jul 5;266(19):12140-5.

Molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis in Escherichia coli. Requirement of the chlB gene product for the formation of molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.


The chlorate-resistant mutants of Escherichia coli are affected in the biosynthesis of the molybdenum cofactor and show pleiotropic loss of the activities of those enzymes which require the cofactor. The molybdenum cofactor in all molybdoenzymes other than nitrogenase is a complex of the metal with a unique pterin termed molybdopterin. The molybdenum cofactor in a number of E. coli enzymes has been shown to contain GMP in addition to the metal-molybdopterin complex, with the GMP appended in pyrophosphate linkage to the terminal phosphate ester on the molybdopterin side chain. In this paper, we have examined the biochemistry of the chlB mutant and show that the gene product of the chlB locus is essential for the addition of the GMP moiety to form molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide, a step which occurs late in the cofactor biosynthetic pathway in E. coli. Sensitive techniques were developed for the identification of fluorescent derivatives of molybdopterin and of molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide in extracts of E. coli cells. Wild type cells were shown to contain both molybdopterin and molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide, while cells of chlB mutants were found to contain elevated levels of molybdopterin but no detectable molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide.

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