Defining the potassium binding region in an apple terpene synthase.
ABSTRACT: Terpene synthases are a family of enzymes largely responsible for synthesizing the vast array of terpenoid compounds known to exist in nature. Formation of terpenoids from their respective 10-, 15-, or 20-carbon atom prenyl diphosphate precursors is initiated by divalent (M(2+)) metal ion-assisted electrophilic attack. In addition to M(2+), monovalent cations (M(+)) have also been shown to be essential for the activity of certain terpene synthases most likely by facilitating substrate binding or catalysis. An apple alpha-farnesene synthase (MdAFS1), which has a dependence upon potassium (K(+)), was used to identify active site regions that may be important for M(+) binding. Protein homology modeling revealed a surface-exposed loop (H-alphal loop) in MdAFS1 that fulfilled the necessary requirements for a K(+) binding region. Site-directed mutagenesis analysis of specific residues within this loop then revealed their crucial importance to this K(+) response and strongly implicated specific residues in direct K(+) binding. The role of the H-alphal loop in terpene synthase K(+) coordination was confirmed in a Conifer pinene synthase also using site-directed mutagenesis. These findings provide the first direct evidence for a specific M(+) binding region in two functionally and phylogenetically divergent terpene synthases. They also provide a basis for understanding K(+) activation in other terpene synthases and establish a new role for the H-alphal loop region in terpene synthase catalysis.
Project description:We report the first X-ray crystal structure of ent-kaur-16-ene synthase from Bradyrhizobium japonicum, together with the results of a site-directed mutagenesis investigation into catalytic activity. The structure is very similar to that of the ? domains of modern plant terpene cyclases, a result that is of interest since it has been proposed that many plant terpene cyclases may have arisen from bacterial diterpene cyclases. The ent-copalyl diphosphate substrate binds to a hydrophobic pocket near a cluster of Asp and Arg residues that are essential for catalysis, with the carbocations formed on ionization being protected by Leu, Tyr and Phe residues. A bisphosphonate inhibitor binds to the same site. In the kaurene synthase from the moss Physcomitrella patens, 16-?-hydroxy-ent-kaurane as well as kaurene are produced since Leu and Tyr in the P. patens kaurene synthase active site are replaced by smaller residues enabling carbocation quenching by water. Overall, the results represent the first structure determination of a bacterial diterpene cyclase, providing insights into catalytic activity, as well as structural comparisons with diverse terpene synthases and cyclases which clearly separate the terpene cyclases from other terpene synthases having highly ?-helical structures.
Project description:Class I terpene synthases generate the structural core of bioactive terpenoids. Deciphering structure-function relationships in the reactive closed complex and targeted engineering is hampered by highly dynamic carbocation rearrangements during catalysis. Available crystal structures, however, represent the open, catalytically inactive form or harbor nonproductive substrate analogs. Here, we present a catalytically relevant, closed conformation of taxadiene synthase (TXS), the model class I terpene synthase, which simulates the initial catalytic time point. In silico modeling of subsequent catalytic steps allowed unprecedented insights into the dynamic reaction cascades and promiscuity mechanisms of class I terpene synthases. This generally applicable methodology enables the active-site localization of carbocations and demonstrates the presence of an active-site base motif and its dominating role during catalysis. It additionally allowed in silico-designed targeted protein engineering that unlocked the path to alternate monocyclic and bicyclic synthons representing the basis of a myriad of bioactive terpenoids.
Project description:Sesquiterpene synthases are responsible for the cyclization of farnesyl pyrophosphate into a myriad of structurally diverse compounds with various biological activities. We examine here the role of the conserved active site H-?1 loop in catalysis in three previously characterized fungal sesquiterpene synthases. The H-?1 loops of Cop3, Cop4, and Cop6 from Coprinus cinereus were altered by site-directed mutagenesis and the resultant product profiles were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and compared to the wild-type enzymes. In addition, we examine the effect of swapping the H-?1 loop from the promiscuous enzyme Cop4 with the more selective Cop6 and the effect of acidic or basic conditions on loop mutations in Cop4. Directed mutations of the H-?1 loop had a marked effect on the product profile of Cop3 and Cop4, while little to no change was shown in Cop6. Swapping of the Cop4 and Cop6 loops with one another was again shown to influence the product profile of Cop4, while the product profile of Cop6 remained identical to the wild-type enzyme. The loop mutations in Cop4 also implicate specific residues responsible for the pH sensitivity of the enzyme. These results affirm the role of the H-?1 loop in catalysis and provide a potential target to increase the product diversity of terpene synthases.
Project description:Terpene synthases often catalyze complex cyclization reactions that typically represent the committed step in particular biosynthetic pathways, leading to great interest in their enzymatic mechanisms. We have recently demonstrated that substitution of a specific Ile with Thr was sufficient to "short circuit" the complex cyclization reaction normally catalyzed by ent-kaurene synthases to instead produce ent-pimaradiene. Here we report that the complex cyclization/rearrangement reaction catalyzed by abietadiene synthase can be similarly cut short to produce pimaradienes by an analogous Ser for Ala change, albeit with a slight shift in active site location to accommodate the difference in substrate stereochemistry. This result has mechanistic implications for enzymatic catalysis of abietadiene cyclization, and terpene synthases more broadly. Furthermore, these defined single residue switches may be useful in engineering product outcome in diterpene synthases more generally.
Project description:Terpene synthases catalyze the formation of a variety of terpene chemical structures. Systematic mutagenesis studies have been effective in providing insights into the characteristic and complex mechanisms of C-C bond formations and in exploring the enzymatic potential for inventing new chemical structures. In addition, there is growing demand to increase terpene synthase activity in heterologous hosts, given the maturation of metabolic engineering and host breeding for terpenoid synthesis. We have developed a simple screening method for the cellular activities of terpene synthases by scoring their substrate consumption based on the color loss of the cell harboring carotenoid pathways. We demonstrate that this method can be used to detect activities of various terpene synthase or prenyltransferase genes in a high-throughput manner, irrespective of the product type, enabling the mutation analysis and directed evolution of terpene synthases. We also report the possibility for substrate-specific screening system of terpene synthases by taking advantage of the substrate-size specificity of C30 and C40 carotenoid pathways.
Project description:Albaflavenone synthase (CYP170A1) is a monooxygenase catalyzing the final two steps in the biosynthesis of this antibiotic in the soil bacterium, Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). Interestingly, CYP170A1 shows no stereo selection forming equal amounts of two albaflavenol epimers, each of which is oxidized in turn to albaflavenone. To explore the structural basis of the reaction mechanism, we have studied the crystal structures of both ligand-free CYP170A1 (2.6 A) and complex of endogenous substrate (epi-isozizaene) with CYP170A1 (3.3 A). The structure of the complex suggests that the proximal epi-isozizaene molecules may bind to the heme iron in two orientations. In addition, much to our surprise, we have found that albaflavenone synthase also has a second, completely distinct catalytic activity corresponding to the synthesis of farnesene isomers from farnesyl diphosphate. Within the cytochrome P450 alpha-helical domain both the primary sequence and x-ray structure indicate the presence of a novel terpene synthase active site that is moonlighting on the P450 structure. This includes signature sequences for divalent cation binding and an alpha-helical barrel. This barrel is unusual because it consists of only four helices rather than six found in all other terpene synthases. Mutagenesis establishes that this barrel is essential for the terpene synthase activity of CYP170A1 but not for the monooxygenase activity. This is the first bifunctional P450 discovered to have another active site moonlighting on it and the first time a terpene synthase active site is found moonlighting on another protein.
Project description:The x-ray crystal structure of recombinant trichodiene synthase from Fusarium sporotrichioides has been determined to 2.5-A resolution, both unliganded and complexed with inorganic pyrophosphate. This reaction product coordinates to three Mg(2+) ions near the mouth of the active site cleft. A comparison of the liganded and unliganded structures reveals a ligand-induced conformational change that closes the mouth of the active site cleft. Binding of the substrate farnesyl diphosphate similarly may trigger this conformational change, which would facilitate catalysis by protecting reactive carbocationic intermediates in the cyclization cascade. Trichodiene synthase also shares significant structural similarity with other sesquiterpene synthases despite a lack of significant sequence identity. This similarity indicates divergence from a common ancestor early in the evolution of terpene biosynthesis.
Project description:Isoprene is the most abundant biogenic volatile hydrocarbon compound naturally emitted by plants and plays a major role in atmospheric chemistry. It has been proposed that isoprene synthases (IspS) may readily evolve from other terpene synthases, but this hypothesis has not been experimentally investigated. We isolated and functionally validated in Arabidopsis the first isoprene synthase gene, AdoIspS, from a monocotyledonous species (Arundo donax L., Poaceae). Phylogenetic reconstruction indicates that AdoIspS and dicots isoprene synthases most likely originated by parallel evolution from TPS-b monoterpene synthases. Site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated invivo the functional and evolutionary relevance of the residues considered diagnostic for IspS function. One of these positions was identified by saturating mutagenesis as a major determinant of substrate specificity in AdoIspS able to cause invivo a dramatic change in total volatile emission from hemi- to monoterpenes and supporting evolution of isoprene synthases from ocimene synthases. The mechanism responsible for IspS neofunctionalization by active site size modulation by a single amino acid mutation demonstrated in this study might be general, as the very same amino acidic position is implicated in the parallel evolution of different short-chain terpene synthases from both angiosperms and gymnosperms. Based on these results, we present a model reconciling in a unified conceptual framework the apparently contrasting patterns previously observed for isoprene synthase evolution in plants. These results indicate that parallel evolution may be driven by relatively simple biophysical constraints, and illustrate the intimate molecular evolutionary links between the structural and functional bases of traits with global relevance.
Project description:Abietadiene synthase from Abies grandis (AgAS) is a model system for diterpene synthase activity, catalyzing class I (ionization-initiated) and class II (protonation-initiated) cyclization reactions. Reported here is the crystal structure of AgAS at 2.3 ? resolution and molecular dynamics simulations of that structure with and without active site ligands. AgAS has three domains (?, ?, and ?). The class I active site is within the C-terminal ? domain, and the class II active site is between the N-terminal ? and ? domains. The domain organization resembles that of monofunctional diterpene synthases and is consistent with proposed evolutionary origins of terpene synthases. Molecular dynamics simulations were carried out to determine the effect of substrate binding on enzymatic structure. Although such studies of the class I active site do lead to an enclosed substrate-Mg(2+) complex similar to that observed in crystal structures of related plant enzymes, it does not enforce a single substrate conformation consistent with the known product stereochemistry. Simulations of the class II active site were more informative, with observation of a well ordered external loop migration. This "loop-in" conformation not only limits solvent access but also greatly increases the number of conformational states accessible to the substrate while destabilizing the nonproductive substrate conformation present in the "loop-out" conformation. Moreover, these conformational changes at the class II active site drive the substrate toward the proposed transition state. Docked substrate complexes were further assessed with regard to the effects of site-directed mutations on class I and II activities.
Project description:While cyclic ether forming terpene synthases are known, the basis for such heterocyclisation is unclear. Here it is reported that numerous (di)terpene synthases, particularly including the ancestral ent-kaurene synthase, efficiently produce isomers of manoyl oxide from the stereochemically appropriate substrate. Accordingly, such heterocyclisation is easily accomplished by terpene synthases. Indeed, the use of single residue changes to induce production of the appropriate substrate in the upstream active site leads to efficient bifunctional enzymes producing isomers of manoyl oxide, representing novel enzymatic activity.