Molecular Characterization of Bacillus Subtilis Oxidoreductases involved in the Bacilysin Synthesis
The biosynthetic pathway for the production of the dipeptide antibiotic bacilysin has been the subject of intense research over the past three decades. These studies revealed the role of multiple enzymes in the biosynthesis of this antibiotic. The identification of different enzymes was initially guided by genetic studies on different strains of Bacillus. The functional role of some these enzymes have been validated in vitro in the recent past. Despite this, the in vitro synthesis of bacilysin still remains elusive. The focus of this study was on two oxidoreductases - BacC and BacG. In the course of these studies, several variations to conventional oxidoreductase mechanisms were observed. These studies also provided us an opportunity to examine an oxidoreductase, BacC, at atomic resolution. This thesis describes these structural studies alongside efforts to achieve the biosynthesis of bacilysin in vitro. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the broad goals of this thesis. First, the diversity of naturally occurring antibiotics is described. This is followed by a description of nonribosomal peptides and their preferred route for antibiotic synthesis. A summary of previous work in this area is provided to place this study in perspective. Earlier studies performed in this laboratory and others provided a framework for understanding the role of BacC and BacG. These studies have been described with an emphasis on the pivotal role of oxidoreductases in this process. In this context, known features of oxidoreductases, classification of the enzyme family, known reaction mechanisms, preferred substrates and cofactors of the enzyme have been summarized in this chapter. Chapter 2 describes the structural and biochemical characterization of B.subtilis BacG. The crystal structures of BacG determined in the apo form and ligand bound states could capture different conformational states of this enzyme. These structures revealed a basis to understand the ping-pong reaction mechanism. The catalytic residues Tyr-Ser-Lys-Asn involved in the proton relay were examined by mutational analysis. These biochemical studies could corroborate our observations derived from structural analysis. Put together, these studies suggest synchronized conformational changes in BacG that can rationalize cofactor specificity and catalytic action on di hydroxyphenyl pyruvate to form tetra hydroxyphenyl pyruvate en route to anticapsin biosynthesis. Bacillus subtilis BacC could be structurally characterized at 1.19Å resolution. The atomic resolution structure formed the basis for the analysis reported in this chapter. The structure revealed aspects of non-covalent interactions that could be unambiguously determined due to the high resolution diffraction data. The atomic resolution structure also enabled us to conduct charge density analysis on this protein. Atomic displacement parameters were used as a tool to explore paths of non-covalent interactions. A commercially available substrate, 3-Quinuclidinone, was used to characterize enzymatic activity. We note that this enzyme follows a rapid equilibrium random mechanism. Furthermore, the kinetic profiles were conclusive to draw inferences on allosteric interactions. A comparison between the NADH-complex and the apo enzyme structure suggests aspects of nuanced atomic displacement that governs the intra structural signal transduction. Taken together, this study provided a template to analyze the role of non-covalent interactions in regulating enzymatic activity. Chapter 4 is based on a survey of oxidoreductases that have been previously described in literature. During this study, we collated the extensive structural and biochemical data in this family of enzymes. However, we noted that the data remains disperse thereby limiting efforts to understand the reaction mechanism from a structural perspective. Here we collate information of known sequences, structures, cofactors, ligand preferences, reaction mechanisms and their influence on higher order association and catalytic activity in this class of enzymes. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings on two oxidoreductases (BacC, BacG). These studies on two closely related oxidoreductases BacC and BacG performing different roles in the same biosynthetic pathway revealed aspects biosynthesis that are often poorly recognized in protein engineering. The role of the reaction mechanism and their influence on the cofactor specificity could be inferred from the studies on these two enzymes. These studies also suggest the feasibility of evaluating aspects of enzyme activity and regulation provided the wealth of a priori information that is currently available. Put together, these studies provide a data-set for protein engineering efforts on oxidoreductases with general inferences for other enzymes in the short-chain dehydrogenases/ reductases (SDR) family. Appendix 1 provides a schematic representation of our efforts to biosynthetically obtain bacilysin in vitro. The identification, mass spectrometry of the products and substrates en route to bacilysin biosynthesis are compiled in this section. Appendix 2 describes the preliminary characterization of B.subtilis BacF. This part of the work describes the cloning, expression and purification of BacF and attempts to obtain suitable diffracting crystals for structural analysis.
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