Metabolic bifunctionality of Rv0812 couples folate and peptidoglycan biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Comparative sequence analysis has enabled the annotation of millions of genes from organisms across the evolutionary tree. However, this approach has inherently biased the annotation of phylogenetically ubiquitous, rather than species-specific, functions. The ecologically unusual pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has evolved in humans as its sole reservoir and emerged as the leading bacterial cause of death worldwide. However, the physiological factors that define Mtb's pathogenicity are poorly understood. Here, we report the structure and function of a protein that is required for optimal in vitro fitness and bears homology to two distinct enzymes, Rv0812. Despite diversification of related orthologues into biochemically distinct enzyme families, rv0812 encodes a single active site with aminodeoxychorismate lyase and D-amino acid transaminase activities. The mutual exclusivity of substrate occupancy in this active site mediates coupling between nucleic acid and cell wall biosynthesis, prioritizing PABA over D-Ala/D-Glu biosynthesis. This bifunctionality reveals a novel, enzymatically encoded fail-safe mechanism that may help Mtb and other bacteria couple replication and division.

published proceedings

  • J Exp Med

altmetric score

  • 9.3

author list (cited authors)

  • Black, K. A., Duan, L., Mandyoli, L., Selbach, B. P., Xu, W., Ehrt, S., Sacchettini, J. C., & Rhee, K. Y.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Black, Katherine A||Duan, Lijun||Mandyoli, Lungelo||Selbach, Bruna P||Xu, Weizhen||Ehrt, Sabine||Sacchettini, James C||Rhee, Kyu Y

publication date

  • July 2021