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In vivo synthesis of histidine by a cloned histidine ammonia-lyase in Escherichia coli

In vivo synthesis of histidine by a cloned histidine ammonia-lyase in Escherichia coli

Journal of Bacteriology 162(1): 98-101

Histidine ammonia-lyase catalyzes the first step in histidine catabolism, the deamination of histidine to urocanate and ammonia. In vitro experiments have shown that histidine ammonia-lyase also can catalyze the reverse (amination) reaction, histidine synthesis, relatively efficiently under extreme reaction conditions (4 M NH4OH, pH 10). An Escherichia coli hisB deletion strain was transformed with a pBR322 derivative plasmid (pCB101) containing the entire Klebsiella aerogenes histidine utilization (hut) operon to determine whether the catabolic histidine ammonia-lyase could function biosynthetically in vivo to satisfy the histidine auxotrophy. Although the initial construct did not grow on media containing urocanate and ammonia as a source of histidine, spontaneous mutants possessing this ability were isolated. Four mutants characterized grew at doubling times of 4 h compared with 1 h when histidine was present, suggesting that histidine synthesis, although unequivocally present, remained growth limiting. Each mutant contained a plasmid-encoded mutation which eliminated urocanase activity, the second enzyme in the Hut catabolic pathway. This genetic block led to the accumulation of high intracellular levels of urocanate, which was subsequently converted to histidine via histidine ammonia-lyase, thus satisfying the histidine auxotrophic requirement.

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Accession: 040397408

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PMID: 3884601

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