Author(s): Zhang G, Sun HJ
Abstract Share this page
Abstract D-amino acids are toxic for life on Earth. Yet, they form constantly due to geochemical racemization and bacterial growth (the cell walls of which contain D-amino acids), raising the fundamental question of how they ultimately are recycled. This study provides evidence that bacteria use D-amino acids as a source of nitrogen by running enzymatic racemization in reverse. Consequently, when soils are inundated with racemic amino acids, resident bacteria consume D- as well as L-enantiomers, either simultaneously or sequentially depending on the level of their racemase activity. Bacteria thus protect life on Earth by keeping environments D-amino acid free.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access