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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2009 Oct;12(5):505-11. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2009.06.013. Epub 2009 Jul 15.

The bifunctional enzymes of antibiotic resistance.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


The evolutionary union of two genes--each encoding proteins of complementary enzymatic activity--into a single gene so as to allow the coordinated expression of these activities as a fusion polypeptide, is an increasingly recognized biological occurrence. The result of this genetic union is the bifunctional enzyme. This fusion of separate catalytic activities into a single protein, whose gene is regulated by a single promoter, is seen especially where the coordinated expression of the separate activities is highly desirable. Increasingly, a circumstance driving the evolution of the bifunctional enzyme in bacteria is the resistance response of bacteria to antibiotic chemotherapy. We summarize the knowledge on bifunctional antibiotic-resistance enzymes, as possible harbingers of clinically significant resistance mechanisms of the future.

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