Mycothiol-dependent proteins in actinomycetes


  • Editor: Keith Chater

Correspondence: Mamta Rawat, Department of Biology, California State University-Fresno, 2555 E. San Ramon Avenue, Science Building, M/S 73, Fresno, CA93704, USA. Tel.: +(559) 278 2003; fax: +(559) 279 3963; e-mail:


The pseudodisaccharide mycothiol is present in millimolar levels as the dominant thiol in most species of Actinomycetales. The primary role of mycothiol is to maintain the intracellular redox homeostasis. As such, it acts as an electron acceptor/donor and serves as a cofactor in detoxification reactions for alkylating agents, free radicals and xenobiotics. In addition, like glutathione, mycothiol may be involved in catabolic processes with an essential role for growth on recalcitrant chemicals such as aromatic compounds. Following a little over a decade of research since the discovery of mycothiol in 1994, we summarize the current knowledge about the role of mycothiol as an enzyme cofactor and consider possible mycothiol-dependent enzymes.