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D-Alanine Metabolism in B. pertussis

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Bordetella pertussis, Bordetella parapertussis and Bordetella bronchiseptica are closely related Gram-negative Beta-proteobacteria that colonizes the respiratory tracts of mammals. B. pertussis is a strict human pathogen of recent evolutionary origin and is the primary etiologic agent of whooping cough. D-Alanine is a necessary precursor in the biosynthesis of cell wall in this bacterium.

The naturally occurring L-Alanine isomer is racemized to its D-form through the action of a class of enzymes called AlRs (Alanine Racemase). This enzyme is ubiquitous among prokaryotes and with very few exceptions are absent in eukaryotes (Ref.1). It catalyzes the racemization of L-Alanine and D-Alanine, using Pyridoxal 5 -Phosphate as a cofactor and is involved in the reaction where L-Alanine is converted to D-Alanine i.e. the laevorotatory form [...]


1.Characterization of the alanine racemases from two mycobacteria.
Strych U, Penland RL, Jimenez M, Krause KL, Benedik MJ.
FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 Mar 15; 196(2):93-8
2.Molecular dynamics studies of alanine racemase: a structural model for drug design.
Mustata GI, Soares TA, Briggs JM.
Biopolymers 2003 Oct; 70(2):186-200
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