The thioredoxin system of Penicillium chrysogenum and its possible role in penicillin biosynthesis

G. Cohen, A. Argaman, R. Schreiber, M. Mislovati, Y. Aharonowitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Penicillium chrysogenum is an important producer of penicillin antibiotics. A key step in their biosynthesis is the oxidative cyclization of δ-(L-α-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteinyl-D-valine (ACV) to isopenicillin N by the enzyme isopenicillin N synthase (IPNS). bis-ACV, the oxidized disulfide form of ACV is, however, not a substrate for IPNS. We report here the characterization of a broad-range disulfide reductase from P. chrysogenum that efficiently reduces bis-ACV to the thiol monomer. When coupled in vitro with IPNS, it converts bis-ACV to isopenicillin N and may therefore play a role in penicillin biosynthesis. The disulfide reductase consists of two protein components, a 72-kDa NADPH-dependent reductase, containing two identical subunits, and a 12-kDa general disulfide reductant. The latter reduces disulfide bonds in low-molecular-weight compounds and in proteins. The genes coding for the reductase system were cloned and sequenced. Both possess introns. A comparative analysis of their predicted amino acid sequences showed that the 12-kDa protein shares 26 to 60% sequence identity with thioredoxins and that the 36-kDa protein subunit shares 44 to 49% sequence identity with the two known bacterial thioredoxin reductases. In addition, the P. chrysogenum NADPH-dependent reductase is able to accept thioredoxin as a substrate. These results establish that the P. chrysogenum broad-range disulfide reductase is a member of the thioredoxin family of oxidoreductases. This is the first example of the cloning of a eucaryotic thioredoxin reductase gene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-984
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994


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