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ErgOX Report Summary

Project ID: 336559
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Switzerland

Mid-Term Report Summary - ERGOX (Enzymology of oxidative sulfur transfers)

Ergothioneine is a small sulfur-containing fungal or bacterial metabolite that accumulates to high concentrations in specific tissues of our bodies. This compound was discovered more than hundred years ago, but the physiological function of ergothioneine is still not known. A growing number of recent scientific studies suggest that ergothioneine may be as important as a vitamin for long-term health. A parallel line of research suggests that pathogenic bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis depend on ergothioneine biosynthesis in order to establish infections. Evidently, ergothioneine is emerging as a fundamental factor in cellular biochemistry. The ERC project ErgOX aims at illuminating the catalytic principles associated with the biosynthesis of ergothioneine. We study the structures and catalytic mechanisms of several enzyme types that make or break carbon-sulfur bonds by exploiting unprecedented chemistry.

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