Structures and function of the amino acid polymerase cyanophycin synthetase.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nat Chem Biol, Volume 17, Issue 10, p.1101-1110 (2021)


Bacteria, Bacterial Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Models, Molecular, Peptide Synthases, Protein Conformation


<p>Cyanophycin is a natural biopolymer produced by a wide range of bacteria, consisting of a chain of poly-L-Asp residues with L-Arg residues attached to the β-carboxylate sidechains by isopeptide bonds. Cyanophycin is synthesized from ATP, aspartic acid and arginine by a homooligomeric enzyme called cyanophycin synthetase (CphA1). CphA1 has domains that are homologous to glutathione synthetases and muramyl ligases, but no other structural information has been available. Here, we present cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography structures of cyanophycin synthetases from three different bacteria, including cocomplex structures of CphA1 with ATP and cyanophycin polymer analogs at 2.6&thinsp;Å resolution. These structures reveal two distinct tetrameric architectures, show the configuration of active sites and polymer-binding regions, indicate dynamic conformational changes and afford insight into catalytic mechanism. Accompanying biochemical interrogation of substrate binding sites, catalytic centers and oligomerization interfaces combine with the structures to provide a holistic understanding of cyanophycin biosynthesis.</p>

7LG5, 7LGJ, 7LGM, 7LGN, 7LGQ