Bacterial butyryl-CoA CoA-transferase activity plays a key role in butyrate formation in the human colon, but the enzyme and corresponding gene responsible for this activity have not previously been identified. A novel CoA-transferase gene is described from the colonic bacterium Roseburia sp. A2-183, with similarity to acetyl-CoA hydrolase as well as 4-hydroxybutyrate CoA-transferase sequences. The gene product, overexpressed in an Escherichia coli lysate, showed activity with butyryl-CoA and to a lesser degree propionyl-CoA in the presence of acetate. Butyrate, propionate, isobutyrate and valerate competed with acetate as the co-substrate. Despite the sequence similarity to 4-hydroxybutyrate CoA-transferases, 4-hydroxybutyrate did not compete with acetate as the co-substrate. Thus the CoA-transferase preferentially uses butyryl-CoA as substrate. Similar genes were identified in other butyrate-producing human gut bacteria from clostridial clusters IV and XIVa, while other candidate CoA-transferases for butyrate formation could not be detected in Roseburia sp. A2-183. This suggests strongly that the newly identified group of CoA-transferases described here plays a key role in butyrate formation in the human colon.
Bibliographical noteACKNOWLEDGMENTS: This work was supported by the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department. We would like to thank Sheila McCrae, Sylvie Duncan and Gillian Campbell for technical help and Wolfgang Buckel for helpful advice on the citrate synthase assay
- clostridium-acetobutylicum ATCC-824
- acetate utilization
- molecular analysis
- human gut