Biosynthesis of the thiazole moiety of thiamin in Escherichia coli: Identification of an acyldisulfide-linked protein–protein conjugate that is functionally analogous to the ubiquitin/E1 complex Academic Article uri icon


  • A covalently linked protein--protein conjugate between ThiF and ThiS thiocarboxylate was found in a partially purified coexpressed ThiF/ThiS protein mixture by using Fourier transform mass spectrometry. The Cys-184 of ThiF and the C terminus of ThiS thiocarboxylate were identified to be involved in the formation of this complex by using both mutagenesis and chemical modification methods. A complementation study of Escherichia coli thiF(-) using thiF(C184S) suggests that this conjugate is an essential intermediate involved in the biosynthesis of the thiazole moiety of thiamin. This ThiF/ThiS conjugate is the first characterized example of a unique acyldisulfide intermediate in a biosynthetic system. This protein conjugate is also an example of an ubiquitin-E1 like protein-protein conjugate in prokaryotes and supports a strong evolutionary link between thiamin biosynthesis and the ubiquitin conjugating system.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Xi, J., Ge, Y., Kinsland, C., McLafferty, F. W., & Begley, T. P.

citation count

  • 91

publication date

  • July 2001