Discovery of the cryptic function of terpene cyclases as aromatic prenyltransferases.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nat Commun, Volume 11, Issue 1, p.3958 (2020)


Alternaria, Catalytic Domain, Dimethylallyltranstransferase, Enzyme Assays, Escherichia coli, Fusarium, Indoles, Intramolecular Lyases, Kinetics, Ligands, Models, Molecular, Prenylation, Terpenes


<p>Catalytic versatility is an inherent property of many enzymes. In nature, terpene cyclases comprise the foundation of molecular biodiversity as they generate diverse hydrocarbon scaffolds found in thousands of terpenoid natural products. Here, we report that the catalytic activity of the terpene cyclases AaTPS and FgGS can be switched from cyclase to aromatic prenyltransferase at basic pH to generate prenylindoles. The crystal structures of AaTPS and FgGS provide insights into the catalytic mechanism of this cryptic function. Moreover, aromatic prenyltransferase activity discovered in other terpene cyclases indicates that this cryptic function is broadly conserved among the greater family of terpene cyclases. We suggest that this cryptic function is chemoprotective for the cell by regulating isoprenoid diphosphate concentrations so that they are maintained below toxic thresholds.</p>

apo structure of AaTPS and FgGS, complexed with ligands were deposited under accession codes 6LCC [10.2210/pdb6LCC/pdb], 6LCD [10.2210/pdb6LCD/pdb], 6VYD [10.2210/pdb6VYD/pdb], 6W26. [10.2210/pdb6W26/pdb]