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Fungal Genet Biol. 2013 Jul;56:98-106. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2013.03.003. Epub 2013 Mar 30.

Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenases with very low catalytic activity are well conserved across kingdoms: IDOs of Basidiomycota.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Applied Science, Faculty of Science, National University Corporation Kochi University, Kochi 780-8520, Japan.


Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is a tryptophan-degrading enzyme and is found in animals, fungi and bacteria. In fungi, its primary role is to supply nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) via the kynurenine pathway. A number of organisms possess more than one IDO gene, for example, mammals have IDO1 and IDO2 genes. We previously reported that the Pezizomycotina fungi commonly possess three types of IDO genes, IDOα, IDOβ and IDOγ. In this study, we surveyed the nature of IDO genes from Basidiomycota fungi, which are categorized into three subphyla (Agaricomycotina, Pucciniomycotina and Ustilaginomycotina). The Agaricomycotina fungi generally have three types of IDO genes (IDOa, IDOb and IDOc), which are distinct from Pezizomycotina three isozymes. Pucciniomycotina and Ustilaginomycotina species possess two types of IDO; one forms a monophyletic clade with Agaricomycotina IDOs in the phylogenetic tree, these IDOs are referred to as "typical Basidiomycota IDOs". The other is IDOγ, which showed more than 40% identity with Pezizomycotina and ciliate IDOγ. We previously demonstrated that IDO2 in mammals and IDOγ in Perzizomycotina fungi have much lower catalytic efficiencies in an in vitro assay, compared with the other IDO isoforms found in the respective species. We have developed a functional assay to determine whether particular IDO enzymes have sufficient enzymatic activity to rescue a yeast strain where IDO-deletion has rendered it auxotrophic for nicotinic acid. IDOα and IDOβ showed comparable catalytic efficiency, both of them could function in the Pezizomycotina fungal L-Trp metabolism. The catalytic efficiency and functional capacity of the Basidiomycota IDOa and IDOb were similar to Pezizomycotina IDOα/IDOβ. We found that Basidiomycota IDOc could not rescue the nicotinic acid auxotroph, similar to other IDO enzymes with low catalytic efficiency (mammalian IDO2 and most fungal IDOγ). Our study suggests that some fungal IDO enzymes function in tryptophan metabolism and NAD(+) supply. In contrast, other IDO enzymes do not possess sufficient Trp-metabolising capacity to supply NAD(+). Although the role of these low catalytic efficiency IDOs is not clear, it is interesting to note that IDO enzymes possessing these characteristics have evolved across different kingdoms.

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