Pyridoxal 5’-phosphate synthesis and salvage in Bacteria and Archaea: predicting pathway variant distributions and holes

Rémi Denise, Jill Babor, John A. Gerlt, Valérie de Crécy-Lagard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pyridoxal 5’-phosphate or PLP is a cofactor derived from B6 vitamers and essential for growth in all known organisms. PLP synthesis and salvage pathways are well characterized in a few model species even though key components, such as the vitamin B6 transporters, are still to be identified in many organisms including the model bacteria Escherichia coli or Bacillus subtilis. Using a comparative genomic approach, PLP synthesis and salvage pathways were predicted in 5840 bacterial and archaeal species with complete genomes. The distribution of the two known de novo biosynthesis pathways and previously identified cases of non-orthologous displacements were surveyed in the process. This analysis revealed that several PLP de novo pathway genes remain to be identified in many organisms, either because sequence similarity alone cannot be used to discriminate among several homologous candidates or due to non-orthologous displacements. Candidates for some of these pathway holes were identified using published TnSeq data, but many remain. We find that ~10 % of the analysed organisms rely on salvage but further analyses will be required to identify potential transporters. This work is a starting point to model the exchanges of B6 vitamers in communities, predict the sensitivity of a given organism to drugs targeting PLP synthesis enzymes, and identify numerous gaps in knowledge that will need to be tackled in the years to come.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number000926
JournalMicrobial genomics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • B6 vitamers
  • Hidden Markov models
  • pyridoxal
  • pyridoxine
  • sequence similarity networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology


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