Letter | Published:

Formation of 5-Hydroxytryptophan from Tryptophan by Chromobacterium violaceum

Naturevolume 175pages994995 (1955) | Download Citation



PREVIOUS reports from this laboratory have established tryptophan as the dietary precursor of 5-hydroxytryptamine1. The demonstration of the widespread occurrence of a specific decarboxylase for 5-hydroxytryptophan2 suggested that this hitherto unknown amino-acid was the intermediate, and that tryptophan was hydroxylated to 5-hydroxytryptophan in a manner analogous to the hydroxylation of phenylalanine to tyrosine. Although experiments with carbon-14 tryptophan resulted in slight labelling of added carrier 5-hydroxytryptophan, the conversion in mammalian and invertebrate tissues was too small for definite identification. The recent identification of violacein, the pigment of Chromobacterium violaceum, as a 5-hydroxyindole derivative3 led us to investigate the metabolism of tryptophan by this organism.

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  1. 1

    Udenfriend, S., and Weissbach, H., Fed. Proc., 13 412 (1954).

  2. 2

    Clark, C. T., Weissbach, H., and Udenfriend, S., J. Biol. Chem., 210, 139 (1954).

  3. 3

    Beer, R. J. S., Jennings, B. E., and Robertson, A., J. Chem. Soc., 2679 (1954).

  4. 4

    Udenfriend, S., Weissbach, H., and Clark, C. T., J. Biol. Chem. (in the press).

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  1. Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology, National Heart Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland



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