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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Nov;1780(11):1201-16. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2008.01.008. Epub 2008 Jan 18.

Redox control in actinobacteria.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.


As most actinobacteria are obligate aerobes, they have to cope with endogenously generated reactive oxygen species, and actinobacterial pathogens have to resist oxidative attack by phagocytes. Actinobacteria also have to survive long periods under low oxygen tension; for example, Mycobacterium tuberculosis can persist in the host for years under apparently hypoxic conditions in a latent, non-replicative state. Here we focus on the regulatory switches that control actinobacterial responses to peroxide stress, disulfide stress and low oxygen tension. Other unique aspects of their redox biology will be highlighted, including the use of the pseudodisaccharide mycothiol as their major low-molecular-weight thiol buffer, and the [4Fe-4S]-containing WhiB-like proteins, which play diverse, important roles in actinobacterial biology, but whose biochemical role is still controversial.

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