Papers in the Biological Sciences


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THE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY VOL. 289, NO. 3, pp. 1662–1674, January 17, 2014.


Copyright © 2014 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Used by permission.


Methylglyoxal is a cytotoxic reactive carbonyl compound produced by central metabolism. Dedicated glyoxalases convert methylglyoxal to D-lactate using multiple catalytic strategies. In this study, the DJ-1 superfamily member ORF 19.251/GLX3 from Candida albicans is shown to possess glyoxalase activity, making this the first demonstrated glutathione-independent glyoxalase in fungi. The crystal structure of Glx3p indicates that the protein is a monomer containing the catalytic triad Cys136- His137-Glu168. Purified Glx3p has an in vitro methylglyoxalase activity (Km = 5.5 mM andkcat = 7.8 s-1) that is significantly greater than that of more distantly related members of the DJ-1 superfamily. A close Glx3p homolog from Saccharomyces cerevisiae (YDR533C/Hsp31) also has glyoxalase activity, suggesting that fungal members of the Hsp31 clade of the DJ-1 superfamily are all probable glutathione-independent glyoxalases. A homozygous glx3 null mutant in C. albicans strain SC5314 displays greater sensitivity to millimolar levels of exogenous methylglyoxal, elevated levels of intracellular methylglyoxal, and carbon source-dependent growth defects, especially when grown on glycerol. These phenotypic defects are complemented by restoration of the wild-type GLX3 locus. The growth defect of Glx3-deficient cells in glycerol is also partially complemented by added inorganic phosphate, which is not observed for wild-type or glucose-grown cells. Therefore, C. albicans Glx3 and its fungal homologs are physiologically relevant glutathione- independent glyoxalases that are not redundant with the previously characterized glutathione-dependent GLO1/GLO2 system. In addition to its role in detoxifying glyoxals, Glx3 and its close homologs may have other important roles in stress response.