Cysteine synthase (CysM) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an O-phosphoserine sulfhydrylase: evidence for an alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway in mycobacteria.
ABSTRACT The biosynthesis of cysteine is a crucial metabolic pathway supplying a building block for de novo protein synthesis but also a reduced thiol as a component of the oxidative defense mechanisms that appear particularly vital in the dormant state of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We here show that the cysteine synthase CysM is, in contrast to previous annotations, an O-phosphoserine-specific cysteine synthase. CysM belongs to the fold type II pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-dependent enzymes, as revealed by the crystal structure determined at 2.1-angstroms resolution. A model of O-phosphoserine bound to the enzyme suggests a hydrogen bonding interaction of the side chain of Arg220 with the phosphate group as a key feature in substrate selectivity. Replacement of this residue results in a significant loss of specificity for O-phosphoserine. Notably, reactions with sulfur donors are not affected by the amino acid replacement. The specificity of CysM toward O-phosphoserine together with the previously established novel mode of sulfur delivery via thiocarboxylated CysO (Burns, K. E., Baumgart, S., Dorrestein, P. C., Zhai, H., McLafferty, F. W., and Begley, T. P. (2005) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 11602-11603) provide strong evidence for an O-phosphoserine-based cysteine biosynthesis pathway in M. tuberculosis that is independent of both O-acetylserine and the sulfate reduction pathway. The existence of an alternative biosynthetic pathway to cysteine in this pathogen has implications for the design strategy aimed at inhibition of this metabolic route.
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ABSTRACT: DcsE, one of the enzymes found in the d-cycloserine biosynthetic pathway, displays a high sequence homology to l-homoserine O-acetyltransferase (HAT), but it prefers l-serine over l-homoserine as the substrate. To clarify the substrate specificity, in the present study we determined the crystal structure of DcsE at a 1.81 Å resolution, showing that the overall structure of DcsE is similar to that of HAT, whereas a turn region to form an oxyanion hole is obviously different between DcsE and HAT: in detail, the first and last residues in the turn of DcsE are Gly(52) and Pro(55), respectively, but those of HAT are Ala and Gly. In addition, more water molecules were laid on one side of the turn region of DcsE than on that of HAT, and a robust hydrogen-bonding network was formed only in DcsE. We created a HAT-like mutant of DcsE in which Gly(52) and Pro(55) were replaced by Ala and Gly, respectively, showing that the mutant acetylates l-homoserine but scarcely l-serine. The crystal structure of the mutant DcsE shows that the active site, including the turn and its surrounding waters, is similar to that of HAT. These findings suggest that a methyl group of the first residue in the turn of HAT plays a role in excluding the binding of l-serine to the substrate-binding pocket. In contrast, the side chain of the last residue in the turn of DcsE may need to form an extensive hydrogen-bonding network on the turn, which interferes with the binding of l-homoserine.Journal of bacteriology 02/2013; · 3.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Biological network data, such as metabolic-, signaling- or physical interaction graphs of proteins are increasingly available in public repositories for important species. Tools for the quantitative analysis of these networks are being developed today. Protein network-based drug target identification methods usually return protein hubs with large degrees in the networks as potentially important targets. Some known, important protein targets, however, are not hubs at all, and perturbing protein hubs in these networks may have several unwanted physiological effects, due to their interaction with numerous partners. Here, we show a novel method applicable in networks with directed edges (such as metabolic networks) that compensates for the low degree (non-hub) vertices in the network, and identifies important nodes, regardless of their hub properties. Our method computes the PageRank for the nodes of the network, and divides the PageRank by the in-degree (i.e., the number of incoming edges) of the node. This quotient is the same in all nodes in an undirected graph (even for large- and low-degree nodes, that is, for hubs and non-hubs as well), but may differ significantly from node to node in directed graphs. We suggest to assign importance to non-hub nodes with large PageRank/in-degree quotient. Consequently, our method gives high scores to nodes with large PageRank, relative to their degrees: therefore non-hub important nodes can easily be identified in large networks. We demonstrate that these relatively high PageRank scores have biological relevance: the method correctly finds numerous already validated drug targets in distinct organisms (Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Plasmodium falciparum and MRSA Staphylococcus aureus), and consequently, it may suggest new possible protein targets as well. Additionally, our scoring method was not chosen arbitrarily: its value for all nodes of all undirected graphs is constant; therefore its high value captures importance in the directed edge structure of the graph.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e54204. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: 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.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e77558. · 3.73 Impact Factor