Purification and characterization of an unusually large fatty acid synthase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. bovis BCG

S. Kikuchi, D. L. Rainwater, P. E. Kolattukudy

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58 Scopus citations


Fatty acid synthase was purified from Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. bovis BCG. The method developed gave a 23% yield of the synthase and also yielded purified mycocerosic acid synthase. The fatty acid synthase is of unusually large size and composed of two 500-kDa monomers. The amino acid composition of the two synthases was not identical; the N-terminus of the fatty acid synthase was blocked, whereas that of the mycocerosic acid synthase was not. Western blot analysis of crude mycobacterial extracts with polyclonal antibodies prepared against each synthase showed a single band in each case with no cross-reactivity with the other synthase. Fatty acid synthase required both NADH (Km, 11 μM) and NADPH (Km, 14 μM). The Km for acetyl-CoA and malonyl-CoA were 5 and 6 μm, respectively. Fatty acids were released from the synthase as CoA esters. A bimodal distribution of fatty acids was obtained at around C16 and C26. The primer utilization also reflects the de novo synthesis and elongation capabilities of the enzyme; acetyl-CoA was the preferred primer but CoA esters up to C8 but not C12 and C14 could serve as primers, whereas C16 was readily used as a primer for elongation. Addition of CoA and CoA ester-binding oligosaccharides caused enhanced release of C16. Since this mycobacterial fatty acid synthase is twice as large as other multifunctional fatty acid synthases, it is tempting to suggest that this synthase represents a head to tail fusion of two fatty acid synthase genes coding for a double size protein with one-half producing C16 acid and the other elongating the C16 acid to a C26 acid. The monomer of fatty acid synthase from M. smegmatis was immunologically similar and equal in size to the synthase from M. tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-326
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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