S‐Adenosylhomocysteine Hydrolase Deficiency in Cysteine Auxotrophs of Tetrahymena thermophila

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The biochemical lesion in two cysteine auxotrophs of Tetrahymena thermophila has been established as a defect in S‐adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase, an enzyme of the transsulfuration pathway. As a result, these mutants require cysteine (or cystathionine or homocysteine) for growth in a denned medium. Cell‐free extracts of the mutants contained < 5% of the level of the enzyme seen in the wild type. One of the mutant strains accumulated intracellular levels of S‐adenosylhomocysteine as high as 1380 üM, a level 200 times normal. When both mutant strains were maintained in defined medium without cysteine, growth occurred after a long lag; this phenomenon was termed “adaptation.” Adaptation was a) reversed by passage through rich medium, b) was not a recovery of S‐adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase, and c) was probably linked to induction of an alternate pathway for cysteine biosynthesis, involving a lysosomal S‐adenosylhomocysteine nucleosidase activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-37
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Protozoology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1985


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