Most mesophilic bacteria have a multimeric tryptophan synthase complex (EC 126.96.36.199) that forms L-tryptophan from L-serine and 1-C-(indol-3-yl)glycerol 3-phosphate via an indole intermediate. This intermediate, which is formed by the α subunits, is transferred in an internal tunnel to the β units, which convert it to tryptophan. In thermophilic organisms the high temperature enhances diffusion and causes the loss of indole. This enzyme, which does not combine with the α unit to form a complex, salvages the lost indole back to L-tryptophan. It has a much lower Km for indole than the β subunit of EC 188.8.131.52.
Hettwer, S. and Sterner, R. A novel tryptophan synthase β-subunit from the hyperthermophile Thermotoga maritima. Quaternary structure, steady-state kinetics, and putative physiological role. J. Biol. Chem.277 (2002) 8194–8201. [PMID: 11756459]