The canonical kinase (ThiD) that converts the thiamin biosynthesis intermediate hydroxymethylpyrimidine (HMP) monophosphate into the diphosphate can also very efficiently convert free HMP into the monophosphate in prokaryotes, plants, and fungi. This HMP kinase activity enables salvage of HMP, but it is not substrate-specific and so allows toxic HMP analogs and damage products to infiltrate the thiamin biosynthesis pathway. Comparative analysis of bacterial genomes uncovered a gene, thiD2, that is often fused to the thiamin synthesis gene thiE and could potentially encode a replacement for ThiD. Standalone ThiD2 proteins and ThiD2 fusion domains are small (∼130 residues) and do not belong to any previously known protein family. Genetic and biochemical analyses showed that representative standalone and fused ThiD2 proteins catalyze phosphorylation of HMP monophosphate, but not of HMP or its toxic analogs and damage products such as bacimethrin and 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-methylpyrimidin-4-ol. As strictly monofunctional HMP monophosphate kinases, ThiD2 proteins eliminate a potentially fatal vulnerability of canonical ThiD, at the cost of the ability to reclaim HMP formed by thiamin turnover.

You do not currently have access to this content.