The thioredoxin reductase system of mycoplasmas

G. Ben-Menachem, R. Himmelreich, R. Herrmann, Y. Aharonowitz, S. Rottem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Representative species of the Mollicutes possess a thioredoxin reductase system (NTS) composed of a low-molecular-mass thioredoxin (TRX) and NADPH-binding thioredoxin reductase (NTR). The TRXs of Mycoplasma pneumoniae and M. capricolum have molecular masses of 11.2 and 12 kDa, respectively, and are stable at 90°C for 10 min. Both TRXs reacted with monospecific polyclonal antibodies generated against the Bacillus subtilis TRX, but not with anti-Escherichia coli TRX antisera. The M. capricolum and M. pneumoniae NTRs were partially purified and were found to be active with the homologous TRX, but not with the TRX of B. subtilis or E. coli. The NTS activity had an optimal pH of 6.5-7.5 and was dependent on NADPH as an electron donor, a requirement which could not be fulfilled by NADH. The genes encoding the TRX and NTR (trxA and trxB) of M. pneumoniae were cloned and sequenced. The comparative analysis of the predicted amino acid sequence of trxA showed that the 11.2 kDa protein (102 aa) shared 26-68% sequence similarity with products of other known trxA genes and contained the conserved active site Cys-Gly-Pro-Cys. The predicted amino acid sequence of trxB contained 315 residues with a conserved NADPH binding domain and FAD binding domains I and II. The cysteine dithiol redox active region had isoleucine rather than threonine at the active site, as compared with other NTRs. The high activity of the NTS in mycoplasmas suggests that mycoplasmas may have evolved the NTS to protect themselves from the consequences of their self-generated oxidative challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1933-1940
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997


  • Mollicutes
  • Mycoplasma capricolum
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • NADP-thioredoxin reductase
  • Thioredoxin


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