Modulation of Escherichia coli serine acetyltransferase catalytic activity in the cysteine synthase complex.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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 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:Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is mediated by the CdiB/CdiA family of two-partner secretion proteins. CdiA effector proteins are exported onto the surface of CDI(+) inhibitor cells, where they interact with susceptible bacteria and deliver effectors/toxins derived from their C-terminal regions (CdiA-CT). CDI(+) cells also produce an immunity protein that binds the CdiA-CT and blocks its activity to prevent autoinhibition. Here, we show that the CdiA-CT from uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain 536 (UPEC536) is a latent tRNase that requires activation by the biosynthetic enzyme CysK (O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A). UPEC536 CdiA-CT exhibits no nuclease activity in vitro, but cleaves within transfer RNA (tRNA) anti-codon loops when purified CysK is added. CysK and CdiA-CT form a stable complex, and their binding interaction appears to mimic that of the CysK/CysE cysteine synthase complex. CdiA-CT activation is also required for growth inhibition. Synthesis of CdiA-CT in E. coli cysK(+) cells arrests cell growth, whereas the growth of ?cysK mutants is unaffected by the toxin. Moreover, E. coli ?cysK cells are completely resistant to inhibitor cells expressing UPEC536 CdiA, indicating that CysK is required to activate the tRNase during CDI. Thus, CysK acts as a permissive factor for CDI, providing a potential mechanism to modulate growth inhibition in target cells.
Project description:CysK (O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase) is a pyridoxal-5' phosphate-dependent enzyme which catalyzes the second step of the de novo cysteine biosynthesis pathway by converting O-acetyl serine (OAS) into l-cysteine in the presence of sulfide. The first step of the cysteine biosynthesis involves formation of OAS from serine and acetyl CoA by CysE (serine acetyltransferase). Apart from role of CysK in cysteine biosynthesis, recent studies have revealed various additional roles of this enzyme in bacterial physiology. Other than the suggested regulatory role in cysteine production, other activities of CysK include involvement of CysK-in contact-dependent toxin activation in Gram-negative pathogens, as a transcriptional regulator of CymR by stabilizing the CymR-DNA interactions, in biofilm formation by providing cysteine and via another mechanism not yet understood, in ofloxacin and tellurite resistance as well as in cysteine desulfurization. Some of these activities involve binding of CysK to another cellular partner, where the complex is regulated by the availability of OAS and/or sulfide (H2S). The aim of this study is to present an overview of current knowledge of multiple functions performed by CysK and identifying structural features involved in alternate functions. Due to possible role in disease, promoting or inhibiting a "moonlighting" function of CysK could be a target for developing novel therapeutic interventions.
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:Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) is a widespread mechanism of bacterial competition. CDI(+) bacteria deliver the toxic C-terminal region of contact-dependent inhibition A proteins (CdiA-CT) into neighboring target bacteria and produce CDI immunity proteins (CdiI) to protect against self-inhibition. The CdiA-CT(EC536) deployed by uropathogenic Escherichia coli 536 (EC536) is a bacterial toxin 28 (Ntox28) domain that only exhibits ribonuclease activity when bound to the cysteine biosynthetic enzyme O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A (CysK). Here, we present crystal structures of the CysK/CdiA-CT(EC536) binary complex and the neutralized ternary complex of CysK/CdiA-CT/CdiI(EC536) CdiA-CT(EC536) inserts its C-terminal Gly-Tyr-Gly-Ile peptide tail into the active-site cleft of CysK to anchor the interaction. Remarkably, E. coli serine O-acetyltransferase uses a similar Gly-Asp-Gly-Ile motif to form the "cysteine synthase" complex with CysK. The cysteine synthase complex is found throughout bacteria, protozoa, and plants, indicating that CdiA-CT(EC536) exploits a highly conserved protein-protein interaction to promote its toxicity. CysK significantly increases CdiA-CT(EC536) thermostability and is required for toxin interaction with tRNA substrates. These observations suggest that CysK stabilizes the toxin fold, thereby organizing the nuclease active site for substrate recognition and catalysis. By contrast, Ntox28 domains from Gram-positive bacteria lack C-terminal Gly-Tyr-Gly-Ile motifs, suggesting that they do not interact with CysK. We show that the Ntox28 domain from Ruminococcus lactaris is significantly more thermostable than CdiA-CT(EC536), and its intrinsic tRNA-binding properties support CysK-independent nuclease activity. The striking differences between related Ntox28 domains suggest that CDI toxins may be under evolutionary pressure to maintain low global stability.
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 last step of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria and plants is catalyzed by O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase. In bacteria, two isozymes, O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B, have been identified that share similar binding sites, although the respective specific functions are still debated. O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase plays a key role in the adaptation of bacteria to the host environment, in the defense mechanisms to oxidative stress and in antibiotic resistance. Because mammals synthesize cysteine from methionine and lack O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase, the enzyme is a potential target for antimicrobials. With this aim, we first identified potential inhibitors of the two isozymes via a ligand- and structure-based in silico screening of a subset of the ZINC library using FLAP. The binding affinities of the most promising candidates were measured in vitro on purified O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B from Salmonella typhimurium by a direct method that exploits the change in the cofactor fluorescence. Two molecules were identified with dissociation constants of 3.7 and 33 µM for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B, respectively. Because GRID analysis of the two isoenzymes indicates the presence of a few common pharmacophoric features, cross binding titrations were carried out. It was found that the best binder for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B exhibits a dissociation constant of 29 µM for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A, thus displaying a limited selectivity, whereas the best binder for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-A exhibits a dissociation constant of 50 µM for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase-B and is thus 8-fold selective towards the former isozyme. Therefore, isoform-specific and isoform-independent ligands allow to either selectively target the isozyme that predominantly supports bacteria during infection and long-term survival or to completely block bacterial cysteine biosynthesis.
Project description:Macromolecular assemblies play critical roles in regulating cellular functions. The cysteine synthase complex (CSC), which is formed by association of serine O-acetyltransferase (SAT) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (OASS), acts as a sensor and modulator of thiol metabolism by responding to changes in nutrient conditions. Here we examine the oligomerization and energetics of formation of the soybean CSC. Biophysical examination of the CSC by size exclusion chromatography and sedimentation ultracentrifugation indicates that this assembly (complex M(r) approximately 330,000) consists of a single SAT trimer (trimer M(r) approximately 110,000) and three OASS dimers (dimer M(r) approximately 70,000). Analysis of the SAT-OASS interaction by isothermal titration calorimetry reveals negative cooperativity with three distinct binding events during CSC formation with K(d) values of 0.3, 7.5, and 78 nm. The three binding events are also observed using surface plasmon resonance with comparable affinities. The stability of the CSC derives from rapid association and extremely slow dissociation of OASS with SAT and requires the C terminus of SAT for the interaction. Steady-state kinetic analysis shows that CSC formation enhances SAT activity and releases SAT from substrate inhibition and feedback inhibition by cysteine, the final product of the biosynthesis pathway. Cysteine inhibits SAT and the CSC with K(i) values of 2 and 70 microm, respectively. These results suggest a new model for the architecture of this regulatory complex and additional control mechanisms for biochemically controlling plant cysteine biosynthesis. Based on previous work and our results, we suggest that OASS acts as an enzyme chaperone of SAT in the CSC.