Roles played by homocysteine and choline in the regulation of MS (methionine synthase) have been examined in fungi. The Aspergillus nidulans metH gene encoding MS was cloned and characterized. Its transcription was not regulated by methionine, but was enhanced by homocysteine and repressed by choline and betaine. MS activity levels were regulated in a similar way. The repression by betaine was due to its metabolic conversion to choline, which was found to be very efficient in A. nidulans. Betaine and choline supplementation stimulated growth of leaky metH mutants apparently by decreasing the demand for methyl groups and thus saving methionine and S-adenosylmethionine. We have also found that homocysteine stimulates transcription of MS-encoding genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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