Glutamate racemase (MurI) has been proposed as a target for anti-tuberculosis drug development based on the inability of ΔmurI mutants of Mycobacterium smegmatis to grow in the absence of d-glutamate. In this communication, we identify ΔmurI suppressor mutants that are detected during prolonged incubation. Whole genome sequencing of these ΔmurI suppressor mutants identified the presence of a SNP, located in the promoter region of MSMEG_5795. RT-qPCR and transcriptional fusion analyses revealed that the ΔmurI suppressor mutant overexpressed MSMEG_5795 14-fold compared to the isogenic wild-type. MSMEG_5795, which is annotated as 4-amino-4-deoxychorismate lyase (ADCL) but which also has homology to d-amino acid transaminase (d-AAT), was expressed, purified and found to have d-AAT activity and to be capable of producing d-glutamate from d-alanine. Consistent with its d-amino acid transaminase function, overexpressed MSMEG_5795 is able to complement both ΔmurI deletion mutants and alanine racemase (Δalr) deletion mutants, thus confirming a multifunctional role for this enzyme in M. smegmatis.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.