1887

Abstract

The Lyme disease spirochaete, , produces the LuxS enzyme both and ; this enzyme catalyses the synthesis of homocysteine and 4,5-dihydroxy-2,3-pentanedione (DPD) from a by-product of methylation reactions. Unlike most bacteria, . is unable to utilize homocysteine. However, DPD levels alter expression levels of a subset of proteins. The present studies demonstrate that a single operon encodes both of the enzymes responsible for synthesis of DPD, as well as the enzyme for production of the Lyme spirochaete's only activated-methyl donor and a probable phosphohydrolase. Evidence was found for only a single transcriptional promoter, located 5′ of the first gene, which uses the housekeeping subunit for RNA polymerase holoenzyme function. All four genes are co-expressed, and mRNA levels are growth-rate dependent, being produced during the exponential phase. Thus, high metabolic activity is accompanied by increased cellular levels of the only known borrelial methyl donor, enhanced detoxification of methylation by-products, and increased production of DPD. Therefore, production of DPD is directly correlated with cellular metabolism levels, and may thereby function as an extracellular and/or intracellular signal of bacterial health.

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2007-07-01
2020-04-10
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