Reconstruction of cysteine biosynthesis using engineered cysteine-free enzymes.
ABSTRACT: Amino acid biosynthesis pathways observed in nature typically require enzymes that are made with the amino acids they produce. For example, Escherichia coli produces cysteine from serine via two enzymes that contain cysteine: serine acetyltransferase (CysE) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (CysK/CysM). To solve this chicken-and-egg problem, we substituted alternate amino acids in CysE, CysK and CysM for cysteine and methionine, which are the only two sulfur-containing proteinogenic amino acids. Using a cysteine-dependent auxotrophic E. coli strain, CysE function was rescued by cysteine-free and methionine-deficient enzymes, and CysM function was rescued by cysteine-free enzymes. CysK function, however, was not rescued in either case. Enzymatic assays showed that the enzymes responsible for rescuing the function in CysE and CysM also retained their activities in vitro. Additionally, substitution of the two highly conserved methionines in CysM decreased but did not eliminate overall activity. Engineering amino acid biosynthetic enzymes to lack the so-produced amino acids can provide insights into, and perhaps eventually fully recapitulate via a synthetic approach, the biogenesis of biotic amino acids.
Project description:The pathway of cysteine biosynthesis in archaea is still unexplored. Complementation of a cysteine auxotrophic Escherichia coli strain NK3 led to the isolation of the Methanosarcina barkeri cysK gene [encoding O-acetylserine (thiol)-lyase-A], which displays great similarity to bacterial cysK genes. Adjacent to cysK is an open reading frame orthologous to bacterial cysE (serine transacetylase) genes. These two genes could account for cysteine biosynthesis in this archaeon. Analysis of recent genome data revealed the presence of bacteria-like cysM genes [encoding O-acetylserine (thiol)-lyase-B] in Pyrococcus spp., Sulfolobus solfataricus, and Thermoplasma acidophilum. However, no orthologs for these genes can be found in Methanococcus jannaschii, Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, and Archaeoglobus fulgidus, implying the existence of unrecognizable genes for the same function or a different cysteine biosynthesis pathway.
Project description:In bacteria and plants, serine acetyltransferase (CysE) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A sulfhydrylase (CysK) collaborate to synthesize l-Cys from l-Ser. CysE and CysK bind one another with high affinity to form the cysteine synthase complex (CSC). We demonstrate that bacterial CysE is activated when bound to CysK. CysE activation results from the release of substrate inhibition, with the Ki for l-Ser increasing from 4 mm for free CysE to 16 mm for the CSC. Feedback inhibition of CysE by l-Cys is also relieved in the bacterial CSC. These findings suggest that the CysE active site is allosterically altered by CysK to alleviate substrate and feedback inhibition in the context of the CSC.
Project description:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a wide-spread mechanism of inter-bacterial competition. CDI+ bacteria deliver CdiA-CT toxins into neighboring bacteria and produce specific immunity proteins that protect against self-intoxication. The CdiA-CT toxin from uropathogenic Escherichia coli 536 is a latent tRNase that is only active when bound to the cysteine biosynthetic enzyme CysK. Remarkably, the CysK:CdiA-CT binding interaction mimics the 'cysteine synthase' complex of CysK:CysE. The C-terminal tails of CysE and CdiA-CT each insert into the CysK active-site cleft to anchor the respective complexes. The dissociation constant for CysK:CdiA-CT (K d ~ 11?nM) is comparable to that of the E. coli cysteine synthase complex (K d ~ 6?nM), and both complexes bind through a two-step mechanism with a slow isomerization phase after the initial encounter. However, the second-order rate constant for CysK:CdiA-CT binding is two orders of magnitude slower than that of the cysteine synthase complex, suggesting that CysE should outcompete the toxin for CysK occupancy. However, we find that CdiA-CT can effectively displace CysE from pre-formed cysteine synthase complexes, enabling toxin activation even in the presence of excess competing CysE. This adventitious binding, coupled with the very slow rate of CysK:CdiA-CT dissociation, ensures robust nuclease activity in target bacteria.
Project description:The formation of multienzymatic complexes allows for the fine tuning of many aspects of enzymatic functions, such as efficiency, localization, stability, and moonlighting. Here, we investigated, in solution, the structure of bacterial cysteine synthase (CS) complex. CS is formed by serine acetyltransferase (CysE) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase isozyme A (CysK), the enzymes that catalyze the last two steps of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria. CysK and CysE have been proposed as potential targets for antibiotics, since cysteine and related metabolites are intimately linked to protection of bacterial cells against redox damage and to antibiotic resistance. We applied a combined approach of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) spectroscopy and protein painting to obtain a model for the solution structure of CS. Protein painting allowed the identification of protein-protein interaction hotspots that were then used as constrains to model the CS quaternary assembly inside the SAXS envelope. We demonstrate that the active site entrance of CysK is involved in complex formation, as suggested by site-directed mutagenesis and functional studies. Furthermore, complex formation involves a conformational change in one CysK subunit that is likely transmitted through the dimer interface to the other subunit, with a regulatory effect. Finally, SAXS data indicate that only one active site of CysK is involved in direct interaction with CysE and unambiguously unveil the quaternary arrangement of CS.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Escherichia coli has two L-cysteine biosynthetic pathways; one is synthesized from O-acetyl L-serine (OAS) and sulfate by L-cysteine synthase (CysK), and another is produced via S-sulfocysteine (SSC) from OAS and thiosulfate by SSC synthase (CysM). SSC is converted into L-cysteine and sulfite by an uncharacterized reaction. As thioredoxins (Trx1 and Trx2) and glutaredoxins (Grx1, Grx2, Grx3, Grx4, and NrdH) are known as reductases of peptidyl disulfides, overexpression of such reductases might be a good way for improving L-cysteine production to accelerate the reduction of SSC in E. coli. RESULTS: Because the redox enzymes can reduce the disulfide that forms on proteins, we first tested whether these enzymes catalyze the reduction of SSC to L-cysteine. All His-tagged recombinant enzymes, except for Grx4, efficiently convert SSC into L-cysteine in vitro. Overexpression of Grx1 and NrdH enhanced a 15-40% increase in the E. coliL-cysteine production. On the other hand, disruption of the cysM gene cancelled the effect caused by the overexpression of Grx1 and NrdH, suggesting that its improvement was due to the efficient reduction of SSC under the fermentative conditions. Moreover, L-cysteine production in knockout mutants of the sulfite reductase genes (?cysI and ?cysJ) and the L-cysteine synthase gene (?cysK) each decreased to about 50% of that in the wild-type strain. Interestingly, there was no significant difference in L-cysteine production between wild-type strain and gene deletion mutant of the upstream pathway of sulfite (?cysC or ?cysH). These results indicate that sulfite generated from the SSC reduction is available as the sulfur source to produce additional L-cysteine molecule. It was finally found that in the E. coliL-cysteine producer that co-overexpress glutaredoxin (NrdH), sulfite reductase (CysI), and L-cysteine synthase (CysK), there was the highest amount of L-cysteine produced per cell. CONCLUSIONS: In this work, we showed that Grx1 and NrdH reduce SSC to L-cysteine, and the generated sulfite is then utilized as the sulfur source to produce additional L-cysteine molecule through the sulfate pathway in E. coli. We also found that co-overexpression of NrdH, CysI, and CysK increases L-cysteine production. Our results propose that the enhancement of thioredoxin/glutaredoxin-mediated L-cysteine synthesis from SSC is a novel method for improvement of L-cysteine production.
Project description:In bacteria, cysteine can be synthesized from serine by two steps involving an L-serine O-acetyltransferase (SAT) and a cysteine synthase (CysK). While CysK is found in the publicly available annotated genome from Lactobacillus casei ATCC 334, a gene encoding SAT (cysE) is missing. In this study, we found that various strains of L. casei grew in a chemically defined medium containing sulfide as the sole sulfur source, indicating the presence of a serine O-acetyltransferase. The gene lying upstream of cysK is predicted to encode a homoserine trans-succinylase (metA). To study the function of this gene, it was cloned from L. casei FAM18110. The purified, recombinant protein did not acylate L-homoserine in vitro. Instead, it catalyzed the formation of O-acetyl serine from L-serine and acetyl-CoA. Furthermore, the plasmid expressing the L. casei gene complemented an Escherichia coli cysE mutant strain but not an E. coli metA mutant. This clearly demonstrated that the gene annotated as metA in fact encodes the SAT function and should be annotated as cysE.
Project description:O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A (CysK) is the pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the final reaction of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria. CysK was initially identified in a complex with serine acetyltransferase (CysE), which catalyzes the penultimate reaction in the synthetic pathway. This "cysteine synthase" complex is stabilized by insertion of the CysE C-terminus into the active-site of CysK. Remarkably, the CysK/CysE binding interaction is conserved in most bacterial and plant systems. For the past 40years, CysK was thought to function exclusively in cysteine biosynthesis, but recent studies have revealed a repertoire of additional "moonlighting" activities for this enzyme. CysK and its paralogs influence transcription in both Gram-positive bacteria and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. CysK also activates an antibacterial nuclease toxin produced by uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Intriguingly, each moonlighting activity requires a binding partner that invariably mimics the C-terminus of CysE to interact with the CysK active site. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Cofactor-dependent proteins: evolution, chemical diversity and bio-applications.
Project description:The structure of the protein complex CysM-CysO from a new cysteine biosynthetic pathway found in the H37Rv strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been determined at 1.53 A resolution. CysM (Rv1336) is a PLP-containing beta-replacement enzyme and CysO (Rv1335) is a sulfur carrier protein with a ubiquitin-like fold. CysM catalyzes the replacement of the acetyl group of O-acetylserine by CysO thiocarboxylate to generate a protein-bound cysteine that is released in a subsequent proteolysis reaction. The protein complex in the crystal structure is asymmetric with one CysO protomer binding to one end of a CysM dimer. Additionally, the structures of CysM and CysO were determined individually at 2.8 and 2.7 A resolution, respectively. Sequence alignments with homologues and structural comparisons with CysK, a cysteine synthase that does not utilize a sulfur carrier protein, revealed high conservation of active site residues; however, residues in CysM responsible for CysO binding are not conserved. Comparison of the CysM-CysO binding interface with other sulfur carrier protein complexes revealed a similarity in secondary structural elements that contribute to complex formation in the ThiF-ThiS and MoeB-MoaD systems, despite major differences in overall folds. Comparison of CysM with and without bound CysO revealed conformational changes associated with CysO binding.
Project description:CysE and CysK, the last two enzymes of the cysteine biosynthetic pathway, engage in a bienzyme complex, cysteine synthase (CS), with yet incompletely characterized three-dimensional structure and regulatory function. Being absent in mammals, the two enzymes and their complex are attractive targets for antibacterial drugs. We have used hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry to unveil how complex formation affects the conformational dynamics of CysK and CysE. Our results support a model where CysE is present in solution as a dimer of trimers, and each trimer can bind one CysK homodimer. When CysK binds to one CysE monomer, intra-trimer allosteric communication ensures conformational and dynamic symmetry within the trimer. Furthermore, a longer-range allosteric signal propagates through CysE to induce stabilization of the interface between the two CysE trimers, preparing the second trimer for binding the second CysK with a non-random orientation. These results provide new molecular insights into the allosteric formation of the CS complex and could help guide antibacterial drug design.
Project description:In this study, we combined metabolic reconstruction, growth assays, and metabolome and transcriptome analyses to obtain a global view of the sulfur metabolic network and of the response to sulfur availability in Brevibacterium aurantiacum. In agreement with the growth of B. aurantiacum in the presence of sulfate and cystine, the metabolic reconstruction showed the presence of a sulfate assimilation pathway, thiolation pathways that produce cysteine (cysE and cysK) or homocysteine (metX and metY) from sulfide, at least one gene of the transsulfuration pathway (aecD), and genes encoding three MetE-type methionine synthases. We also compared the expression profiles of B. aurantiacum ATCC 9175 during sulfur starvation or in the presence of sulfate. Under sulfur starvation, 690 genes, including 21 genes involved in sulfur metabolism and 29 genes encoding amino acids and peptide transporters, were differentially expressed. We also investigated changes in pools of sulfur-containing metabolites and in expression profiles after growth in the presence of sulfate, cystine, or methionine plus cystine. The expression of genes involved in sulfate assimilation and cysteine synthesis was repressed in the presence of cystine, whereas the expression of metX, metY, metE1, metE2, and BL613, encoding a probable cystathionine-?-synthase, decreased in the presence of methionine. We identified three ABC transporters: two operons encoding transporters were transcribed more strongly during cysteine limitation, and one was transcribed more strongly during methionine depletion. Finally, the expression of genes encoding a methionine ?-lyase (BL929) and a methionine transporter (metPS) was induced in the presence of methionine in conjunction with a significant increase in volatile sulfur compound production.