Date of this Version
ChemMedChem. 2014 February ; 9(2): 282–285.
The genus Corynebacterium consists of nearly seventy species and is closely related to the genera Mycobacterium, Nocardia, and Rhodococcus. The characteristic traits of Corynebacteria include cells that are shaped like straight rods with clubbed ends, as well as an extra cell wall layer consisting of mycolic acids covalently bound to the peptidoglycan layer which adds an additional layer of protection against antibiotics. Corynebacteria are very well studied and outstandingly important for the large scale biotechnological production of amino acids and nucleotides. Moreover, Corynebacteria produce several pathogens that affect humans and livestock. Toxins produced by C. diphtheriae and C. ulcerans cause diphtheria, a highly contagious respiratory infection in humans, or diphtheria-like symptoms, respectively. C. pseudotuberculosis causes “cheesy gland” disease in goats and sheep resulting in significant economic losses. Moreover, while rare, many other Corynebacteria species have also been shown to cause infections. Therefore, elucidating the functional roles of uncharacterized proteins from Corynebacteria is of high biomedical and economic importance.