Phenylketonuric Tetrahymena: Phenylalanine hydroxylase mutants and other tyrosine auxotrophs

Y. M. Sanford, E. Orias

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Nineteen tyrosine auxotrophs of the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila have been isolated and biochemically examined. These mutants are defective in the conversion of phenylalanine to tyrosine; this is analogous to the defect that causes phenylketonuria in humans. After nitrosoguanidine mutagenesis and self-fertilization, progeny clones were screened for tyrosine auxotrophy and positively identified by using growth tests and in vivo radiometric assays for phenylalanine-to-tyrosine conversion. Mutants in one complementation group (locus) lacked phenylalanine hydroxylase activity; mutants in three other loci appeared to be deficient in the unconjugated pteridine cofactor that is necessary for the function of the hydroxylase. Another mutant lacked the dihydropterine reductase activity required to regenerate the reduced form of the pteridine cofactor. Because hydroxylation of tyrosine to dopa and of tryptophan to 5-hydroxytryptophan may require the same cofactor and pterin reductase as phenylalanine hydroxylase, these mutants may also prove useful for the study of the role of catecholamines and serotonin, substances known to be present in Tetrahymena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7614-7618
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12 II
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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