The Vitamin Ergothioneine: An Antioxidant for Oxygen-Free Areas?

04.10.2017, 10:10 | Wissenschaft | Autor: | Jetzt kommentieren


Chemists at the University of Basel have been able to show for the first time that anaerobic bacteria can produce the vitamin ergothioneine in the absence of oxygen. This suggests that bacteria were forming this compound even before there was oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. The vitamin’s function therefore remains a mystery, as it was previously ascribed a role in oxygen-dependent processes.

Ergothioneine is a sulfur-containing vitamin. Whereas bacteria and fungi can produce it themselves, higher organisms rely on absorbing it from food or from the ground.

It is suspected that ergothioneine plays an important physiological role in combating oxidative stress in cells. However, its precise role remains unclear. There are currently no known symptoms of its deficiency, which explains why the vitamin has long been overlooked.

To gain a better understanding of its function, the group led by Professor Florian Seebeck at the University of Basel’s Department of Chemistry is researching the sequence of chemical reactions by which bacteria produce the vitamin.

Scientists have long been aware of an oxygen-dependent reaction pathway in which a key step is the formation of a carbon–sulfur bond using oxygen from the air. Until now, however, studies had only focused on aerobic organisms, which require oxygen in order for their metabolism to operate.

It also works without oxygen

The Basel chemists have now studied the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium limicola, which also produces ergothioneine. C. limicola belongs to the group of strictly anaerobic bacteria and is therefore reliant on an oxygen-free environment.

In the process, the researchers discovered a new type of biosynthetic pathway in anaerobic bacteria whereby the carbon–sulfur bond is formed without oxygen, as they report in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Is ergothioneine an ancient molecule?

A comparison of the enzyme sequences of the oxygen-dependent and -independent biosynthetic pathways suggests that, from an evolutionary perspective, the two pathways separated from one another at an early stage of Earth’s history. Ergothioneine may have been formed as early as around 3 billion years ago – that is, at a time when there was no oxygen at all in Earth’s atmosphere.

This casts a different light on the importance of its physiological role in combating oxidative stress (that is, in reactive oxygen compounds), and the findings suggest that ergothioneines are also important for anaerobic life.

“Our results open up new prospects for studying the physiological function of ergothioneine in humans and in human pathogens, as well as for clarifying the cellular processes that it is involved in. In the long term, this may lead to potential starting points for the development of new therapies,” says Florian Seebeck.

Original article

Reto Burn, Laëtitia Mission, Marcel Meury und Florian P. Seebeck
Anaerobic Origin of Ergothioneine
Angewandte Chemie (2017), doi: 10.1002/ange.201705932
Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2017), doi: 10.1002/anie.201705932

Further information

Prof. Dr. Florian Seebeck, University of Basel, Department of Chemistry, Tel. +41 61 207 11 43, email: florian.seebeck@unibas.ch

Weitere Informationen:
- https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/News/Uni-Research/The-Vitamin-Ergothioneine-An-Antioxidant-for-Oxygen-Free-Areas.html

Quelle: idw


Weitere Nachrichten zum Thema
  • BildSpaces of the Poor: Perspectives of Cultural Sciences on Urban Slum Areas and Their Inhabitants (04.12.2013, 11:10)
    New book publication on poverty and the inhabitants of urban impoverished areasPoverty in urban slums is the central topic of a new publication entitled "Spaces of the Poor. Perspectives of Cultural Sciences on Urban Slum Areas and Their...
  • BildPress Invitation: Better Protection for Europe's Nature Conservation Areas – What Can the EU Do? (22.02.2013, 12:10)
    International Project HABIT-CHANGE Presents Results in BrusselsEurope's protected areas, such as national parks, biosphere reserves, or Natura 2000 areas have to be able to meet new challenges like the impacts of climate change. The HABIT-CHANGE...
  • BildVitamin B12 deficiency: tracing the causes (27.08.2012, 11:10)
    Vitamin B12 is vital. In collaboration with colleagues from Canada, Germany and the United States, researchers from Zurich’s University Children’s Hospital and the University of Zurich have succeeded in decoding a novel cause of hereditary vitamin...
  • BildAutumn Gales Carried Oxygen into the Baltic (27.02.2012, 19:10)
    Since a decade, the first relevant salt water intrusion finally occurredPhysical oceanographers and marine chemists at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde returned from their latest monitoring cruise (2-14 February 2012)...
  • BildA protein shows plants the oxygen concentration of their surroundings (23.10.2011, 20:10)
    Plants need water to grow, but every hobby gardener knows that you shouldn’t carry this to excess either. During waterlogging or flooding, plants can’t take up enough oxygen that they urgently need for their cellular respiration and energy...
  • BildBoron-Oxygen Triple Bonds stabilized for the first time ever (16.04.2010, 10:00)
    World first: chemists from the University of Würzburg have, for the first time ever, succeeded in creating a stable triple bond between the elements boron and oxygen. This success is reported in the leading journal "Science".Why is this renowned...
  • BildWarmer climate not the cause of oxygen deficiency in the Baltic Sea (12.10.2009, 10:00)
    Oxygen deficiency in the Baltic Sea has never been greater than it is now. But it is not an effect of climate change but rather of increased inputs of nutrients and fertilisers. This is the finding of researchers at the University of Gothenburg,...
  • BildTransfer of learning traced to areas of the brain (13.06.2008, 11:00)
    Practice makes perfect, but a question that still remains a mystery is why it is so difficult to transfer learning from a trained to an untrained task? Why are we no better at remembering faces when we have been training our memory for words?...
  • Bild"Barrier free" from the idea to the production (26.09.2007, 13:00)
    In the field of biotechnology there is an increasing exigency of automated or highly parallel processes of different laboratory work based on sample preparation and library synthesis up to cell assays. The change from manual work to the...
  • BildFree Access to the Plankton Data Base (17.07.2006, 12:00)
    PLANKTON*NET is an online data base illustrating plankton organisms both visually and contextually.Originally, the data base was established at the Alfred Wegener Institute to provide a source of information for students participating in courses...

Ähnliche Themen in den JuraForen


Kommentar schreiben

52 - Neu n =

Bisherige Kommentare zur Nachricht (0)

(Keine Kommentare vorhanden)



Fragen Sie einen Anwalt!
Anwälte sind gerade online.
Schnelle Antwort auf Ihre Rechtsfrage.

JuraForum-Newsletter

Kostenlose aktuelle Urteile und Rechtstipps per E-Mail:

Top 10 Orte in der Anwaltssuche

JuraForum-Suche

Durchsuchen Sie hier JuraForum.de nach bestimmten Begriffen:

© 2003-2017 JuraForum.de — Alle Rechte vorbehalten. Keine Vervielfältigung, Verbreitung oder Nutzung für kommerzielle Zwecke.