Current Microbiology

, Volume 76, Issue 5, pp 626–636 | Cite as

Functional Replacement of the BioC and BioH Proteins of Escherichia coli Biotin Precursor Biosynthesis by Ehrlichia chaffeensis Novel Proteins

  • Xudong Hang
  • Qi Zeng
  • Liping Zeng
  • Jia JiaEmail author
  • Hongkai BiEmail author


The biosynthesis of the pimelate moiety of biotin in Escherichia coli requires two specialized proteins, BioC and BioH. However, the enzymes that have BioC- or BioH-like activities show remarkable sequence diversity among biotin-producing bacteria. Here, we report that the intracellular rickettsial pathogen Ehrlichia chaffeensis encodes two novel proteins, BioT and BioU, which functionally replace the E. coli BioC and BioH proteins, respectively. The desthiobiotin assays demonstrated that these two proteins make pimeloyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) from the substrate malonyl-ACP with the aid of the FAS II pathway, through the expected pimeloyl-ACP methyl ester intermediate. BioT and BioU homologues seem restricted to the species of Ehrlichia and its close relative, Anaplasma. Taken together, the synthesis of the biotin precursor in E. chaffeensis appears to be catalyzed by two novel BioC- and BioH-like proteins.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 31600039 and 31570053). We thank Dr. Xue-Jie Yu for providing genomic DNA samples.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1221 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Pathogen Biology of Jiangsu Province, Department of Pathogen BiologyNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina

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