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Thymidyl biosynthesis enzymes as antibiotic targets

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The two long-known “classical” enzymes of uridyl-5-methylation, thymidylate synthase and ribothymidyl synthase, have been joined by two alternative methylation enzymes, flavin-dependent thymidylate synthase and folate-dependent ribothymidyl synthase. These two newly discovered enzymes have much in common: both contain flavin cofactors, utilize methylenetetrahydrofolate as a source of methyl group, and perform thymidylate synthesis via chemical pathways distinct from those of their classic counterparts. Several severe human pathogens (e.g., typhus, anthrax, tuberculosis, and more) depend on these “alternative” enzymes for reproduction. These and other distinctive properties make the alternative enzymes and their corresponding genes appealing targets for new antibiotics.

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This work was supported by NIH R01 GM65368-01 and NSF CHE-0133117.

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Correspondence to Amnon Kohen.

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Chernyshev, A., Fleischmann, T. & Kohen, A. Thymidyl biosynthesis enzymes as antibiotic targets. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 74, 282–289 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-006-0763-1

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  • Thymine
  • Biosynthesis
  • Flavin
  • Thymidylate Synthase