Chlamydia pneumoniae encodes a functional aromatic amino acid hydroxylase

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2009 Mar;55(2):196-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2008.00511.x. Epub 2009 Jan 9.


Chlamydia pneumoniae is a community-acquired respiratory pathogen that has been associated with the development of atherosclerosis. Analysis of the C. pneumoniae genome identified a gene (Cpn1046) homologous to eukaryotic aromatic amino acid hydroxylases (AroAA-Hs). AroAA-Hs hydroxylate phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan into tyrosine, dihydroxyphenylalanine, and 5-hydroxytryptophan, respectively. Sequence analysis of Cpn1046 demonstrated that residues essential for AroAA-H enzymatic function are conserved and that a subset of Chlamydia species contain an AroAA-H homolog. The chlamydial AroAA-Hs are transcriptionally linked to a putative bacterial membrane transport protein. We determined that recombinant Cpn1046 is able to hydroxylate phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan with roughly equivalent activity for all three substrates. Cpn1046 is expressed within 24 h of infection, allowing C. pneumoniae to hydroxylate host stores of aromatic amino acids during the period of logarithmic bacterial growth. From these results we can conclude that C. pneumoniae, as well as a subset of other Chlamydia species, encode an AroAA-H that is able to use all three aromatic amino acids as substrates. The maintenance of this gene within a number of Chlamydia suggests that the enzyme may have an important role in shaping the metabolism or overall pathogenesis of these bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acids, Aromatic / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / enzymology*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / genetics
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / genetics
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Operon
  • Rats
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Amino Acids, Aromatic
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases