The Protein Journal

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 359–365 | Cite as

Characterization of the indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1

  • Monica L. Gerth
  • Laura V. Nigon
  • Wayne M. Patrick


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes chronic infections in the lungs of individuals with cystic fibrosis. It is intrinsically resistant to many antibiotics, and resistance is emerging rapidly to those drugs that currently remain efficacious. Therefore, there is a pressing need to identify new anti-pseudomonal drug targets. To this end, we have characterized the P. aeruginosa indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase (PaIGPS). PaIGPS catalyzes the fifth reaction in the synthesis of tryptophan from chorismate—a reaction that is absent in mammals. PaIGPS was expressed heterologously in Escherichia coli, and purified with high yields. The purified enzyme is active over a broad pH range and has the highest turnover number of any characterized IGPS (kcat = 11.1 ± 0.1 s−1). These properties are likely to make PaIGPS useful in coupled assays for other enzymes in tryptophan biosynthesis. We have also shown that deleting the gene for PaIGPS reduces the fitness of P. aeruginosa strain PAO1 in synthetic cystic fibrosis sputum (relative fitness, W = 0.89 ± 0.02, P = 0.001). This suggests that de novo tryptophan biosynthesis may play a role in the establishment and maintenance of P. aeruginosa infections, and therefore that PaIGPS is a potential target for the development of new anti-pseudomonal drugs.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 Tryptophan biosynthesis Indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase 



1-(o-carboxyphenylamino) 1-deoxyribulose 5-phosphate


Cystic fibrosis


Indole-3-glycerol phosphate


Indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase




Synthetic cystic fibrosis sputum medium


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica L. Gerth
    • 1
  • Laura V. Nigon
    • 2
  • Wayne M. Patrick
    • 2
  1. 1.New Zealand Institute for Advanced StudyMassey UniversityAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Institute of Natural SciencesMassey UniversityAucklandNew Zealand

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