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: 4.57). 10/2008; 283(46):31567-74. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M804877200
Source: PubMed


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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    • "The cysteine biosynthetic pathway comprises of two arms critical for response to redox stress [23], [24]. The alternative cysteine pathways utilizes thiocarboxylates for cysteine synthesis, which are more resistant to oxidative stress – the type of environment found within the MΦ [23]. Genes encoding CysM and CysO, which are part of the alternative cysteine pathway, exhibit up regulation upon oxidative stress in both Mtb and Mtb:ΔRv2745c (comp). "
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    ABSTRACT: Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is the leading cause of death from an infectious disease worldwide. Over the course of its life cycle in vivo, Mtb is exposed to a plethora of environmental stress conditions. Temporal regulation of genes involved in sensing and responding to such conditions is therefore crucial for Mtb to establish an infection. The Rv2745c (clgR) gene encodes a Clp protease gene regulator that is induced in response to a variety of stress conditions and potentially plays a role in Mtb pathogenesis. Our isogenic mutant, Mtb:ΔRv2745c, is significantly more sensitive to in vitro redox stress generated by diamide, relative to wild-type Mtb as well as to a complemented strain. Together with the fact that the expression of Rv2745c is strongly induced in response to redox stress, these results strongly implicate a role for ClgR in the management of intraphagosomal redox stress. Additionally, we observed that redox stress led to the dysregulation of the expression of the σH/σE regulon in the isogenic mutant, Mtb:ΔRv2745c. Furthermore, induction of clgR in Mtb and Mtb:ΔRv2745c (comp) did not lead to Clp protease induction, indicating that clgR has additional functions that need to be elucidated. Our data, when taken together with that obtained by other groups, indicates that ClgR plays diverse roles in multiple regulatory networks in response to different stress conditions. In addition to redox stress, the expression of Rv2745c correlates with the expression of genes involved in sulfate assimilation as well as in response to hypoxia and reaeration. Clearly, the Mtb Rv2745c-encoded ClgR performs different functions during stress response and is important for the pathogenicity of Mtb in-vivo, regardless of its induction of the Clp proteolytic pathway.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Diffraction quality crystals of CysM were obtained using the protocol as described [16]. Before data collection crystals were flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen, without the addition of any cryoprotectants . "
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