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Riboflavin derivatives are essential cofactors for a myriad of flavoproteins. In bacteria, flavins importance extends beyond their role as intracellular protein cofactors, as secreted flavins are a key metabolite in a variety of physiological processes. Bacteria obtain riboflavin through the endogenous riboflavin biosynthetic pathway (RBP) or by the use of importer proteins. Bacteria frequently encode multiple paralogs of the RBP enzymes and as for other micronutrient supply pathways, biosynthesis and uptake functions largely coexist. It is proposed that bacteria shut down biosynthesis and would rather uptake riboflavin when the vitamin is environmentally available. Recently, the overlap of riboflavin provisioning elements has gained attention and the functions of duplicated paralogs of RBP enzymes started to be addressed. Results point towards the existence of a modular structure in the bacterial riboflavin supply pathways. Such structure uses subsets of RBP genes to supply riboflavin for specific functions. Given the importance of riboflavin in intra and extracellular bacterial physiology, this complex array of riboflavin provision pathways may have developed to contend with the various riboflavin requirements. In riboflavin-prototrophic bacteria, riboflavin transporters could represent a module for riboflavin provision for particular, yet unidentified processes, rather than substituting for the RBP as usually assumed.

Citation

Víctor Antonio García-Angulo. Overlapping riboflavin supply pathways in bacteria. Critical reviews in microbiology. 2017 Mar;43(2):196-209

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PMID: 27822970

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