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Res Microbiol. 2008 Nov-Dec;159(9-10):643-50. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2008.08.006. Epub 2008 Sep 12.

Characterization of a mycothiol ligase mutant of Rhodococcus jostii RHA1.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Life Sciences Institute, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada.


Mycothiol (1d-myo-inosityl 2-[N-acetyl-L-cysteinyl]amido-2-deoxy-alpha-D-glucopyranoside) is an important microbial thiol present only in actinomycetes. Rhodococcus jostii RHA1 degrades a wide range of xenobiotics, including polychlorinated biphenyls, nitriles and N-nitrosodimethylamine. Analyses revealed that this strain produces two thiols, mycothiol and ergothioneine, found in the other actinomycetes. A mycothiol ligase mutant strain of R. jostii RHA1 deficient in the production of mycothiol was constructed. This mutant has a number of interesting characteristics: (a) it overproduces the intermediate glucosamine-inositol (1-O-(2-amino-1-deoxy-alpha-D-glucopyranosyl)-D-myo-inositol); (b) it is deficient in the biochemical degradation of a number of xenobiotics metabolized by the parent strain; (c) it shows increased susceptibility to a number of antibiotics; and (d) it shows unusual growth characteristics, exhibiting a long lag phase before normal exponential growth. The diverse phenotypes of the mutant indicate the utility of R. jostii RHA1 as a model for deciphering the various functions of mycothiol.

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