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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Biosynthesis of the phenzaine pigment pyocyanine Grant, Geoffrey Frank


Metabolic changes which occur in cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa prior to, and during, pyocyanine production, as well as the biochemical precursors of the pigment, were investigated. Production of the pigment was found to occur at the end of the logarithmic growth phase and was paralleled by cell death and autolysis. The degradation products of L-tryptophan, namely 3-hydroxyanthranilate and anthranilate were shown to be precursors of the pyocyanine molecule. It is proposed that anthranilate is methylated, at the expense of L-methionine, and that 3-hydroxyanthranilate and N-methyl anthranilate condense to form the phenazine nucleus. The suggestion of this pathway was based on enhancement studies, use of methyl analogues and isomeric forms of L-tryptophan in inhibition studies, and the use of auxotrophic strains. A correlation between the levels of pyocyanine and oxidized nicotinamide nucleotides was also reported.

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