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Biochem J. 1995 Dec 1;312 ( Pt 2):465-9.

Glutathionylspermidine metabolism in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Medical Parasitology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, U.K.


Intracellular levels of glutathione and glutathionylspermidine conjugates have been measured throughout the growth phases of Escherichia coli. Glutathionylspermidine was present in mid-log-phase cells, and under stationary and anaerobic growth conditions accounted for 80% of the total glutathione content. N1,N8-bis(glutathionyl)spermidine (trypanothione) was undetectable under all growth conditions. The catalytic constant kcat/Km of recombinant E. coli glutathione reductase for glutathionylspermidine disulphide was approx. 11,000-fold lower than that for glutathione disulphide. The much higher catalytic constant for the mixed disulphide of glutathione and glutathionylspermidine (11% that of GSSG), suggests a possible explanation for the low turnover of trypanothione disulphide by E. coli glutathione reductase, given the apparent lack of a specific glutathionylspermidine disulphide reductase in E. coli.

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