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Mol Cell. 1998 May;1(6):795-805.

Alkyl hydroperoxide reductase subunit C (AhpC) protects bacterial and human cells against reactive nitrogen intermediates.

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Seaver Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York 10021, USA.


In Salmonella typhimurium, ahpC encodes subunit C of alkyl hydroperoxide reductase, an enzyme that reduces organic peroxides. Here, we asked if ahpC could protect cells from reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI). Salmonella disrupted in ahpC became hypersusceptible to RNI. ahpC from either Mycobacterium tuberculosis or S. typhimurium fully complemented the defect. Unlike protection against cumene hydroperoxide, protection afforded by ahpC against RNI was independent of the reducing flavoprotein, AhpF. Mycobacterial ahpC protected human cells from necrosis and apoptosis caused by RNI delivered exogenously or produced endogenously by transfected nitric oxide synthase. Resistance to RNI appears to be a physiologic function of ahpC. ahpC is the most widely distributed gene known that protects cells directly from RNI, and provides an enzymatic defense against an element of antitubercular immunity.

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