Cysteine synthase (CysM) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an O-phosphoserine sulfhydrylase: evidence for an alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway in mycobacteria.

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.65). 10/2008; 283(46):31567-74. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M804877200
Source: PubMed

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.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: L-Cysteine is synthesized from O-acetyl-L-serine (OAS) and sulfide by O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (OASS; EC in plants and bacteria. O-phosphoserine sulfhydrylase (OPSS; EC is a novel enzyme from the hyperthermophilic aerobic archaeon Aeropyrum pernix K1 (2003). OPSS can use OAS or O-phospho-L-serine (OPS) to synthesize L-cysteine. To elucidate the mechanism of the substrate specificity of OPSS, we analyzed three-dimensional structures of the active site of the enzyme. The active-site lysine (K127) of OPSS forms an internal Schiff base with pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. Therefore, crystals of the complexes formed by the K127A mutant with the external Schiff base of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate with either OPS or OAS were prepared and examined by X-ray diffraction analysis. In contrast to that observed for OASS, no significant difference was seen in the overall structure between the free and complexed forms of OPSS. The side chains of T152, S153, and Q224 interacted with the carboxylate of the substrates, as a previous study has suggested. The side chain of R297 has been proposed to recognize the phosphate group of OPS. Surprisingly, however, the position of R297 was significantly unchanged in the complex of the OPSS K127A mutant with the external Schiff base, allowing enough space for an interaction with OPS. The positively charged environment around the entrance of the active site including S153 and R297 is important for accepting negatively charged substrates such as OPS.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 05/2012; 422(1):33-44. · 3.91 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The physical organization of enzymes in metabolism is an old concept being revisited by new experimental approaches. In plants and microbes, the enzymes of cysteine biosynthesis-serine acetyltransferase (SAT) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (OASS)-form a bi-enzyme complex called the cysteine regulatory complex (CRC), which likely plays a role in modulating cysteine biosynthesis in response to sulfur nutrient state. Structural and biochemical studies of SAT and OASS as individual enzymes and recent advances in structural, biophysical, and in vivo analysis of the CRC provide new insights on the function of this macromolecular assembly in plants and microbes and opens biotechnology and pharmaceutical opportunities for future exploration.
    Current Opinion in Structural Biology 03/2013; · 8.74 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: New antibiotic targets are urgently needed to tackle the multidrug resistant and latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of the most formidable infectious disease tuberculosis. Sulfur metabolism is essential for the survival and virulence of many pathogens including M. tuberculosis. The absence of most genes involved in microbial sulfur metabolism in human beings suggests abundant novel potential antibiotic targets in pathogen sulfur metabolism. In this article, a comparative genomic landscape of Mycobacterium sulfur metabolism, such as the uptake, activation, and reduction of sulfate and allied enzymes, the biosynthesis pathway of some sulfated metabolites, and the enzymes involved in these pathways were presented. Novel clues for antibiotic targets are put forward.
    Cell biochemistry and biophysics 10/2012; · 3.34 Impact Factor