The genomic landscape of ribosomal peptides containing thiazole and oxazole heterocycles.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) are a burgeoning class of natural products with diverse activity that share a similar origin and common features in their biosynthetic pathways. The precursor peptides of these natural products are ribosomally produced, upon which a combination of modification enzymes installs diverse functional groups. This genetically encoded peptide-based strategy allows for rapid diversification of these natural products by mutation in the precursor genes merged with unique combinations of modification enzymes. Thiazole/oxazole-modified microcins (TOMMs) are a class of RiPPs defined by the presence of heterocycles derived from cysteine, serine, and threonine residues in the precursor peptide. TOMMs encompass a number of different families, including but not limited to the linear azol(in)e-containing peptides (streptolysin S, microcin B17, and plantazolicin), cyanobactins, thiopeptides, and bottromycins. Although many TOMMs have been explored, the increased availability of genome sequences has illuminated several unexplored TOMM producers. METHODS:All YcaO domain-containing proteins (D protein) and the surrounding genomic regions were were obtained from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). MultiGeneBlast was used to group gene clusters contain a D protein. A number of techniques were used to identify TOMM biosynthetic gene clusters from the D protein containing gene clusters. Precursor peptides from these gene clusters were also identified. Both sequence similarity and phylogenetic analysis were used to classify the 20 diverse TOMM clusters identified. RESULTS:Given the remarkable structural and functional diversity displayed by known TOMMs, a comprehensive bioinformatic study to catalog and classify the entire RiPP class was undertaken. Here we report the bioinformatic characterization of nearly 1,500 TOMM gene clusters from genomes in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) sequence repository. Genome mining suggests a complex diversification of modification enzymes and precursor peptides to create more than 20 distinct families of TOMMs, nine of which have not heretofore been described. Many of the identified TOMM families have an abundance of diverse precursor peptide sequences as well as unfamiliar combinations of modification enzymes, signifying a potential wealth of novel natural products on known and unknown biosynthetic scaffolds. Phylogenetic analysis suggests a widespread distribution of TOMMs across multiple phyla; however, producers of similar TOMMs are generally found in the same phylum with few exceptions. CONCLUSIONS:The comprehensive genome mining study described herein has uncovered a myriad of unique TOMM biosynthetic clusters and provides an atlas to guide future discovery efforts. These biosynthetic gene clusters are predicted to produce diverse final products, and the identification of additional combinations of modification enzymes could expand the potential of combinatorial natural product biosynthesis.
Project description:Streptolysin S (SLS) is a cytolytic virulence factor produced by the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes and other Streptococcus species. Related "SLS-like" toxins have been characterized in select strains of Clostridium and Listeria, with homologous clusters bioinformatically identified in a variety of other species. SLS is a member of the thiazole/oxazole-modified microcin (TOMM) family of natural products. The structure of SLS has yet to be deciphered and many questions remain regarding its structure-activity relationships.In this work, we assessed the hemolytic activity of a series of C-terminally truncated SLS peptides expressed in SLS-deficient S. pyogenes. Our data indicate that while the N-terminal poly-heterocyclizable (NPH) region of SLS substantially contributes to its bioactivity, the variable C-terminal region of the toxin is largely dispensable. Through genome mining we identified additional SLS-like clusters in diverse Firmicutes, Spirochaetes and Actinobacteria. Among the Spirochaete clusters, naturally truncated SLS-like precursors were found in the genomes of three Lyme disease-causing Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl) strains. Although unable to restore hemolysis in SLS-deficient S. pyogenes, a Bbsl SLS-like precursor peptide was converted to a cytolysin using purified SLS biosynthetic enzymes. A PCR-based screen demonstrated that SLS-like clusters are substantially more prevalent in Bbsl than inferred from publicly available genome sequences.The mutagenesis data described herein indicate that the minimal cytolytic unit of SLS encompasses the NPH region of the core peptide. Interestingly, this region is found in all characterized TOMM cytolysins, as well as the novel putative TOMM cytolysins we discovered. We propose that this conserved region represents the defining feature of the SLS-like TOMM family. We demonstrate the cytolytic potential of a Bbsl SLS-like precursor peptide, which has a core region of similar length to the SLS minimal cytolytic unit, when modified with purified SLS biosynthetic enzymes. As such, we speculate that some Borrelia have the potential to produce a TOMM cytolysin, although the biological significance of this finding remains to be determined. In addition to providing new insight into the structure-activity relationships of SLS, this study greatly expands the cytolysin group of TOMMs.
Project description:A new family of natural products has been described in which cysteine, serine and threonine from ribosomally-produced peptides are converted to thiazoles, oxazoles and methyloxazoles, respectively. These metabolites and their biosynthetic gene clusters are now referred to as thiazole/oxazole-modified microcins (TOMM). As exemplified by microcin B17 and streptolysin S, TOMM precursors contain an N-terminal leader sequence and C-terminal core peptide. The leader sequence contains binding sites for the posttranslational modifying enzymes which subsequently act upon the core peptide. TOMM peptides are small and highly variable, frequently missed by gene-finders and occasionally situated far from the thiazole/oxazole forming genes. Thus, locating a substrate for a particular TOMM pathway can be a challenging endeavor.Examination of candidate TOMM precursors has revealed a subclass with an uncharacteristically long leader sequence closely related to the enzyme nitrile hydratase. Members of this nitrile hydratase leader peptide (NHLP) family lack the metal-binding residues required for catalysis. Instead, NHLP sequences display the classic Gly-Gly cleavage motif and have C-terminal regions rich in heterocyclizable residues. The NHLP family exhibits a correlated species distribution and local clustering with an ABC transport system. This study also provides evidence that a separate family, annotated as Nif11 nitrogen-fixing proteins, can serve as natural product precursors (N11P), but not always of the TOMM variety. Indeed, a number of cyanobacterial genomes show extensive N11P paralogous expansion, such as Nostoc, Prochlorococcus and Cyanothece, which replace the TOMM cluster with lanthionine biosynthetic machinery.This study has united numerous TOMM gene clusters with their cognate substrates. These results suggest that two large protein families, the nitrile hydratases and Nif11, have been retailored for secondary metabolism. Precursors for TOMMs and lanthionine-containing peptides derived from larger proteins to which other functions are attributed, may be widespread. The functions of these natural products have yet to be elucidated, but it is probable that some will display valuable industrial or medical activities.
Project description:The thiazole/oxazole-modified microcins (TOMMs) represent a burgeoning class of ribosomal natural products decorated with thiazoles and (methyl)oxazoles originating from cysteines, serines, and threonines. The ribosomal nature of TOMMs allows for the generation of derivative products from mutations in the amino acid sequence of the precursor peptide, which ultimately manifest in differing structures and, sometimes, biological functions. Employing a TOMM system for the purpose of creating new structures and functions via combinatorial biosynthesis requires processing machinery that can tolerate highly variable substrates. In this study, TOMM enzymatic promiscuity was assessed using a currently uncharacterized cluster in Bacillus sp. Al Hakam. As determined by Fourier transform tandem mass spectrometry (FT-MS/MS), azole rings were formed in both a regio- and chemoselective fashion. Cognate and noncognate precursor peptides were modified in an overall C- to N-terminal directionality, which to date is unique among characterized ribosomal natural products. Studies focused on the inherent promiscuity of the biosynthetic machinery elucidated a modest bias for glycine at the preceding (-1) position and a remarkable flexibility in the following (+1) position, even allowing for the incorporation of charged amino acids and bisheterocyclization. Two unnatural substrates were utilized as the conclusive test of substrate flexibility, of which both were processed in a predictable fashion. A greater understanding of substrate processing and enzymatic tolerance toward unnatural substrates will prove beneficial when designing combinatorial libraries to screen for artificial TOMMs that exhibit desired activities.
Project description:Thiazole/oxazole-modified microcins (TOMMs) encompass a recently defined class of ribosomally synthesized natural products with a diverse set of biological activities. Although TOMM biosynthesis has been investigated for over a decade, the mechanism of heterocycle formation by the synthetase enzymes remains poorly understood. Using substrate analogs and isotopic labeling, we demonstrate that ATP is used to directly phosphorylate the peptide amide backbone during TOMM heterocycle formation. Moreover, we present what is to our knowledge the first experimental evidence that the D-protein component of the heterocycle-forming synthetase (YcaO/domain of unknown function 181 family member), formerly annotated as a docking protein involved in complex formation and regulation, is able to perform the ATP-dependent cyclodehydration reaction in the absence of the other TOMM biosynthetic proteins. Together, these data reveal the role of ATP in the biosynthesis of azole and azoline heterocycles in ribosomal natural products and prompt a reclassification of the enzymes involved in their installation.
Project description:The soil-dwelling, plant growth-promoting bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens FZB42 is a prolific producer of complex natural products. Recently, a new FZB42 metabolite, plantazolicin (PZN), has been described as a member of the growing thiazole/oxazole-modified microcin (TOMM) family. TOMMs are biosynthesized from inactive, ribosomal peptides and undergo a series of cyclodehydrations, dehydrogenations, and other modifications to become bioactive natural products. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, chemoselective modification, genetic interruptions, and other spectroscopic tools, we have determined the molecular structure of PZN. In addition to two conjugated polyazole moieties, the amino-terminus of PZN has been modified to N(?),N(?)-dimethylarginine. PZN exhibited a highly selective antibiotic activity toward Bacillus anthracis, but no other tested human pathogen. By altering oxygenation levels during fermentation, PZN analogues were produced that bear variability in their heterocycle content, which yielded insight into the order of biosynthetic events. Lastly, genome-mining has revealed the existence of four additional PZN-like biosynthetic gene clusters. Given their structural uniqueness and intriguing antimicrobial specificity, the PZN class of antibiotics may hold pharmacological value.
Project description:Thiazole/oxazole-modified microcins (TOMMs) are a class of post-translationally modified peptide natural products bearing azole and azoline heterocycles. The first step in heterocycle formation is carried out by a two component cyclodehydratase comprised of an E1 ubiquitin-activating and a YcaO superfamily member. Recent studies have demonstrated that the YcaO domain is responsible for cyclodehydration, while the TOMM E1 homologue is responsible for peptide recognition during azoline formation. Although all characterized TOMM biosynthetic clusters contain this canonical TOMM E1 homologue (C domain), we also identified a second, highly divergent E1 superfamily member, annotated as an Ocin-ThiF-like protein (F protein), associated with more than 300 TOMM biosynthetic clusters. Here we describe the in vitro reconstitution of a novel TOMM cyclodehydratase from such a cluster and demonstrate that this auxiliary protein is required for cyclodehydration. Using a combination of biophysical techniques, we demonstrate that the F protein, rather than the C domain, is responsible for engaging the peptide substrate. The C domain instead appears to serve as a scaffolding protein, bringing the catalytic YcaO domain and the peptide binding Ocin-ThiF-like protein into proximity. Our findings provide an updated biosynthetic framework that provides a foundation for the characterization and reconstitution of approximately 25% of bioinformatically identifiable TOMM synthetases.
Project description:Current strategies for generating peptides and proteins bearing amide carbonyl derivatives rely on solid-phase peptide synthesis for amide functionalization. Although such strategies have been successfully implemented, technical limitations restrict both the length and sequence of the synthetic fragments. Herein we report the repurposing of a thiazole/oxazole-modified microcin (TOMM) cyclodehydratase to site-specifically install amide backbone labels onto diverse peptide substrates, a method we refer to as azoline-mediated peptide backbone labeling (AMPL). This convenient chemoenzymatic strategy can generate both thioamides and amides with isotopically labeled oxygen atoms. Moreover, we demonstrate the first leader peptide-independent activity of a TOMM synthetase, circumventing the requirement that sequences of interest be fused to a leader peptide for modification. Through bioinformatics-guided site-directed mutagenesis, we also convert a strictly dehydrogenase-dependent TOMM azole synthetase into an azoline synthetase. This vastly expands the spectrum of substrates modifiable by AMPL by allowing any in vitro reconstituted TOMM synthetase to be employed. To demonstrate the utility of AMPL for mechanistic enzymology studies, an (18)O-labeled substrate was generated to provide direct evidence that cyclodehydrations in TOMMs occur through the phosphorylation of the carbonyl oxygen preceding the cyclized residue. Furthermore, we demonstrate that AMPL is a useful tool for establishing the location of azolines both on in vitro modified peptides and azoline-containing natural products.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Lanthipeptides belong to the ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide group of natural products and have a variety of biological activities ranging from antibiotics to antinociceptives. These peptides are cyclized through thioether crosslinks and can bear other secondary post-translational modifications. While lanthipeptide biosynthetic gene clusters can be identified by the presence of genes encoding characteristic enzymes involved in the post-translational modification process, locating the precursor peptides encoded within these clusters is challenging due to their short length and high sequence variability, which limits the high-throughput exploration of lanthipeptide biosynthesis. To address this challenge, we enhanced the predictive capabilities of Rapid ORF Description & Evaluation Online (RODEO) to identify members of all four known classes of lanthipeptides. RESULTS:Using RODEO, we mined over 100,000 bacterial and archaeal genomes in the RefSeq database. We identified nearly 8500 lanthipeptide precursor peptides. These precursor peptides were identified in a broad range of bacterial phyla as well as the Euryarchaeota phylum of archaea. Bacteroidetes were found to encode a large number of these biosynthetic gene clusters, despite making up a relatively small portion of the genomes in this dataset. A number of these precursor peptides are similar to those of previously characterized lanthipeptides, but even more were not, including potential antibiotics. One such new antimicrobial lanthipeptide was purified and characterized. Additionally, examination of the biosynthetic gene clusters revealed that enzymes installing secondary post-translational modifications are more widespread than initially thought. CONCLUSION:Lanthipeptide biosynthetic gene clusters are more widely distributed and the precursor peptides encoded within these clusters are more diverse than previously appreciated, demonstrating that the lanthipeptide sequence-function space remains largely underexplored.
Project description:Thiazole/oxazole-modified microcins (TOMMs) comprise a structurally diverse family of natural products with varied bioactivities linked by the presence of posttranslationally installed thiazol(in)e and oxazol(in)e heterocycles. The detailed investigation of the TOMM biosynthetic enzymes from Bacillus sp. Al Hakam (Balh) has provided significant insight into heterocycle biosynthesis. Thiazoles and oxazoles are installed by the successive action of an ATP-dependent cyclodehydratase (C- and D-protein) and a FMN-dependent dehydrogenase (B-protein), which are responsible for azoline formation and azoline oxidation, respectively. Although several studies have focused on the mechanism of azoline formation, many details regarding the role of the dehydrogenase (B-protein) in overall substrate processing remain unknown. In this work, we evaluated the involvement of the dehydrogenase in determining the order of ring formation as well as the promiscuity of the Balh and microcin B17 cyclodehydratases to accept a panel of noncognate dehydrogenases. In support of the observed promiscuity, a fluorescence polarization assay was utilized to measure binding of the dehydrogenase to the cyclodehydratase using the intrinsic fluorescence of the FMN cofactor. Ultimately, the noncognate dehydrogenases were shown to possess cyclodehydratase-independent activity. A previous study identified a conserved Lys-Tyr motif to be important for dehydrogenase activity. Using the tools developed in this study, the Lys-Tyr motif was shown neither to alter complex formation with the cyclodehydratase nor the reduction potential. Taken together with the known crystal structure of a homologue, our data suggest that the Lys-Tyr motif is of catalytic importance. Overall, this study provides a greater level of insight into the complex orchestration of enzymatic activity during TOMM biosynthesis.
Project description:Ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) are a rapidly growing class of natural products. RiPP precursor peptides can undergo extensive enzymatic tailoring to yield structurally and functionally diverse products, and their biosynthetic logic makes them attractive bioengineering targets. Recent work suggests that unrelated RiPP-modifying enzymes contain structurally similar precursor peptide-binding domains. Using profile hidden Markov model comparisons, we discovered related and previously unrecognized peptide-binding domains in proteins spanning the majority of known prokaryotic RiPP classes, and we named this conserved domain the RiPP precursor peptide recognition element (RRE). Through binding studies we verified RRE's roles for three distinct RiPP classes: linear azole-containing peptides, thiopeptides and lasso peptides. Because numerous RiPP biosynthetic enzymes act on peptide substrates, our findings have powerful predictive value as to which protein(s) drive substrate binding, thereby laying a foundation for further characterization of RiPP biosynthetic pathways and the rational engineering of new peptide-binding activities.