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Biochemistry. 1989 Nov 28;28(24):9417-23.

Steps in the conversion of alpha-ketosuberate to 7-mercaptoheptanoic acid in methanogenic bacteria.

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Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, State University, Blacksburg 24061.


The biosynthetic steps involved in the conversion of alpha-ketosuberate to 7-mercaptoheptanoic acid were studied in cell-free extracts of methanogenic bacteria. The pathway was established by measuring the incorporation of stable isotopically labeled precursors into the S-methyl ether methyl ester derivative of the enzymatically generated 7-mercaptoheptanoic acid by using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Quantitation of the 7-mercaptoheptanoic acid produced in the incubations with the substrates was accomplished by using an internal standard of 6-mercaptohexanoic acid. [4,4,6,6-2H4]-2-Oxosuberic acid, [7-2H]-7-oxoheptanoic acid, [2-2H]-2(RS)-(5-carboxypentyl)thiazolidine-4(R)-carboxylic acid, and S-(6-carboxyhexyl)cysteine were each shown to be converted to 7-mercaptoheptanoic acid. Incubation of cell extracts with a mixture of 2(RS)-(5-carboxypentyl)thiazolidine-4(R)-carboxylic acid and [2-2H]-2-(RS)-(5-carboxypentyl)-[34S]thiazolidine-4(R)-carboxylic acid showed that both 34S and 2H are incorporated into the 7-mercaptoheptanoic acid but only after separation of the cysteine from the [7-2H]-7-oxyheptanoic acid portion of the molecule. Furthermore, the sulfur from the cysteine was incorporated into the thiol only after its elimination from the cysteine and subsequent mixing with an unlabeled sulfur source which had a molecular weight of sufficient size that it was excluded from Sephadex G-25. Hydrogen sulfide was found to supply the sulfur for the production of the 7-mercaptoheptanoic acid in a reaction that was shown to obtain its reducing equivalents from hydrogen via an F420-dependent hydrogenase.

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