Fosmidomycin is a phosphonic antibiotic which inhibits 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (Dxr), the first committed step of the non-mevalonate pathway of isoprenoid biosynthesis. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis Dxr is encoded by Rv2870c, and although the antibiotic has been shown to inhibit the recombinant enzyme , mycobacteria are intrinsically resistant to fosmidomycin at the whole cell level. Fosmidomycin is a hydrophilic molecule and in many bacteria its uptake is an active process involving a cAMP dependent glycerol-3-phosphate transporter (GlpT). The fact that there is no glpT homologue in the M. tuberculosis genome and the highly impervious nature of the hydrophobic mycobacterial cell wall suggests that resistance may be due to a lack of cellular penetration.
We demonstrated that dxr (Rv2780c) is an essential gene in M. tuberculosis, since we could not delete the chromosomal copy unless a second functional copy was provided on an integrating vector. This confirmed that the intracellular target of fosmidomycin was essential as well as sensitive. We looked at the uptake of fosmidomycin in two mycobacterial species, the slow-growing pathogenic M. tuberculosis and the fast-growing, saprophytic Mycobacterium smegmatis; both species were resistant to fosmidomycin to a high level. Fosmidomycin was not accumulated intra-cellularly in M. tuberculosis or M. smegmatis but remained in the extra-cellular medium. In contrast, fosmidomycin uptake was confirmed in the sensitive organism, Escherichia coli. We established that the lack of intra-cellular accumulation was not due to efflux, since efflux pump inhibitors had no effect on fosmidomycin resistance. Finally, we demonstrated that fosmidomycin was not modified by mycobacterial cells or by extracts but remained in a fully functional state.
Taken together, these data demonstrate that fosmidomycin resistance in M. tuberculosis and M. smegmatis results from a lack of penetration of the antibiotic to the site of the sensitive target.
1-Deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (IspC) catalyzes the first committed step in the mevalonate-independent isopentenyl diphosphate biosynthetic pathway and is a potential drug target in some pathogenic bacteria. The antibiotic fosmidomycin has been shown to inhibit IspC in a number of organisms and is active against most gram-negative bacteria but not gram positives, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, even though the mevalonate-independent pathway is the sole isopentenyl diphosphate biosynthetic pathway in this organism. Therefore, the enzymatic properties of recombinant IspC from M. tuberculosis were characterized. Rv2870c from M. tuberculosis converts 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate to 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate in the presence of NADPH. The enzymatic activity is dependent on the presence of Mg2+ ions and exhibits optimal activity between pH 7.5 and 7.9; the Km for 1-deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate was calculated to be 47.1 μM, and the Km for NADPH was 29.7 μM. The specificity constant of Rv2780c in the forward direction is 1.5 × 106 M−1 min−1, and the reaction is inhibited by fosmidomycin, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 310 nM. In addition, Rv2870c complements an inactivated chromosomal copy of IspC in Salmonella enterica, and the complemented strain is sensitive to fosmidomycin. Thus, M. tuberculosis resistance to fosmidomycin is not due to intrinsic properties of Rv2870c, and the enzyme appears to be a valid drug target in this pathogen.
Salvia miltiorrhiza has been widely used in the treatment of coronary heart disease. Tanshinones, a group of diterpenoids are the main active ingredients in S. miltiorrhiza. Two biosynthetic pathways were involved in tanshinone biosynthesis in plants: the mevalonate (MVA) pathway in the cytosol and the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway in the plastids. The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGR) is the rate-limiting enzyme of the MVA pathway. The 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase (DXS) and 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR) are the key enzymes of the MEP pathway. In this study, to reveal roles of the MVA and the MEP pathways in cell growth and tanshinone production of S. miltiorrhiza hairy roots, specific inhibitors of the two pathways were used to perturb metabolic flux. The results showed that the MVA pathway inhibitor (mevinolin, MEV) was more powerful to inhibit the hairy root growth than the MEP pathway inhibitor (fosmidomycin, FOS). Both MEV and FOS could significantly inhibit tanshinone production, and FOS was more powerful than MEV. An inhibitor (D, L-glyceraldehyde, DLG) of IPP translocation strengthened the inhibitory effects of MEV and FOS on cell growth and tanshinone production. Application of MEV resulted in a significant increase of expression and activity of HMGR at 6 h, and a sharp decrease at 24 h. FOS treatment resulted in a significant increase of DXR and DXS expression and DXS activity at 6 h, and a sharp decrease at 24 h. Our results suggested that the MVA pathway played a major role in cell growth, while the MEP pathway was the main source of tanshinone biosynthesis. Both cell growth and tanshinone production could partially depend on the crosstalk between the two pathways. The inhibitor-mediated changes of tanshinone production were reflected in transcript and protein levels of genes of the MVA and MEP pathways.
Bacteria, plants, and algae produce isoprenoids through the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway, an attractive pathway for antimicrobial drug development as it is present in prokaryotes and some lower eukaryotes but absent from human cells. The first committed step of the MEP pathway is catalyzed by 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR/MEP synthase). MEP pathway genes have been identified in many biothreat agents, including Francisella, Brucella, Bacillus, Burkholderia, and Yersinia. The importance of the MEP pathway to Francisella is demonstrated by the fact that MEP pathway mutations are lethal. We have previously established that fosmidomycin inhibits purified MEP synthase (DXR) from F. tularensis LVS. FR900098, the acetyl derivative of fosmidomycin, was found to inhibit the activity of purified DXR from F. tularensis LVS (IC50 = 230 nM). Fosmidomycin and FR900098 are effective against purified DXR from Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well, but have no effect on whole cells because the compounds are too polar to penetrate the thick cell wall. Fosmidomycin requires the GlpT transporter to enter cells, and this is absent in some pathogens, including M. tuberculosis. In this study, we have identified the GlpT homologs in F. novicida and tested transposon insertion mutants of glpT. We showed that FR900098 also requires GlpT for full activity against F. novicida. Thus, we synthesized several FR900098 prodrugs that have lipophilic groups to facilitate their passage through the bacterial cell wall and bypass the requirement for the GlpT transporter. One compound, that we termed “compound 1,” was found to have GlpT-independent antimicrobial activity. We tested the ability of this best performing prodrug to inhibit F. novicida intracellular infection of eukaryotic cell lines and the caterpillar Galleria mellonella as an in vivo infection model. As a lipophilic GlpT-independent DXR inhibitor, compound 1 has the potential to be a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and should be effective against most MEP-dependent organisms.
In most eubacteria, apicomplexans, and most plants, including the causal agents for diseases such as malaria, leprosy and tuberculosis, the methylerythritol phosphate pathway is the route for the biosynthesis of the C5 precursors to the essential isoprenoid class of compounds. Owing to their absence in humans, the enzymes of the methylerythritol phosphate pathway have become attractive targets for drug discovery. This work investigates a new class of inhibitors against the second enzyme of the pathway, 1-Deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (MtDXR). Inhibition of this enzyme may involve the chelation of a crucial active site Mn ion, and the metal chelating moieties studied here have previously been shown to be successful in application to the zinc-dependent metalloproteinases. Quantum mechanics and docking calculations presented in this work suggest the transferability of these metal chelating compounds to Mn-containing MtDXR enzyme, as a promising starting point to the development of potent inhibitors.
1-Deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase from P. falciparum has been crystallized in the presence of NADPH. Diffraction data to 1.85 Å resolution have been collected using synchrotron radiation.
The nonmevalonate pathway of isoprenoid biosynthesis present in Plasmodium falciparum is known to be an effective target for antimalarial drugs. The second enzyme of the nonmevalonate pathway, 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR), catalyzes the transformation of 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate (DXP) to 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP). For crystallographic studies, DXR from the human malaria parasite P. falciparum (PfDXR) was overproduced in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method in the presence of NADPH. X-ray diffraction data to 1.85 Å resolution were collected from a monoclinic crystal form belonging to space group C2 with unit-cell parameters a = 168.89, b = 59.65, c = 86.58 Å, β = 117.8°. Structural analysis by molecular replacement is in progress.
1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase; malaria; nonmevalonate pathway
In most eubacteria, apicomplexans, and most plants, including the causal agents for diseases such as malaria, leprosy, and tuberculosis, the methylerythritol phosphate pathway is the route for the biosynthesis of the C5 precursors to the essential isoprenoid class of compounds. Owing to their absence in humans, the enzymes of the methylerythritol phosphate pathway have become attractive targets for drug discovery. This work investigates a new class of inhibitors against the second enzyme of the pathway, 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase. Inhibition of this enzyme may involve the chelation of a crucial active site Mn ion, and the metal-chelating moieties studied here have previously been shown to be successful in application to the zinc-dependent metalloproteinases. Quantum mechanics and docking calculations presented in this work suggest the transferability of these metal-chelating compounds to Mn-containing 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase enzyme, as a promising starting point to the development of potent inhibitors.
drug design; drug discovery; molecular modeling; structure-based
The crystal structure of 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR) from Escherichia coli complexed with Mg2+, NADPH and fosmidomycin was determined at 2.2 Å resolution. The structure showed a well defined loop conformation at the active site of DXR.
The crystal structure of 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR) from Escherichia coli complexed with Mg2+, NADPH and fosmidomycin was solved at 2.2 Å resolution. DXR is the key enzyme in the 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate pathway and is an effective target of antimalarial drugs such as fosmidomycin. In the crystal structure, electron density for the flexible loop covering the active site was clearly observed, indicating the well ordered conformation of DXR upon substrate binding. On the other hand, no electron density was observed for the nicotinamide-ribose portion of NADPH and the position of Asp149 anchoring Mg2+ was shifted by NADPH in the active site.
antimalarial drugs; fosmidomycin; MEP pathway
Isoprenoids are natural products that are all derived from isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP). These precursors are synthesized either by the mevalonate (MVA) pathway or the 1-Deoxy-D-Xylulose 5-Phosphate (DXP) pathway. Metabolic engineering of microbes has enabled overproduction of various isoprenoid products from the DXP pathway including lycopene, artemisinic acid, taxadiene and levopimaradiene. To date, there is no method to accurately measure all the DXP metabolic intermediates simultaneously so as to enable the identification of potential flux limiting steps. In this study, a solid phase extraction coupled with ultra performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (SPE UPLC-MS) method was developed. This method was used to measure the DXP intermediates in genetically engineered E. coli. Unexpectedly, methylerythritol cyclodiphosphate (MEC) was found to efflux when certain enzymes of the pathway were over-expressed, demonstrating the existence of a novel competing pathway branch in the DXP metabolism. Guided by these findings, ispG was overexpressed and was found to effectively reduce the efflux of MEC inside the cells, resulting in a significant increase in downstream isoprenoid production. This study demonstrated the necessity to quantify metabolites enabling the identification of a hitherto unrecognized pathway and provided useful insights into rational design in metabolic engineering.
1-Deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate (DXP) reductoisomerase (DXR, also known as methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) synthase) is a NADPH-dependent enzyme, which catalyzes the conversion of DXP to MEP in the non-mevalonate pathway of isoprene biosynthesis. Two mechanisms have been proposed for the DXR-catalyzed reaction. In the α-ketol rearrangement mechanism, the reaction begins with deprotonation of the C-3 hydroxyl group followed by a 1,2-migration to give methylerythrose phosphate, which is then reduced to MEP by NADPH. In the retroaldol/aldol rearrangement mechanism, DXR first cleaves the C3-C4 bond of DXP in a retroaldol manner to generate a three-carbon and a two-carbon phosphate bimolecular intermediate. These two species are then reunited by an aldol reaction to form a new C-C bond, yielding an aldehyde intermediate. Subsequent reduction by NADPH affords MEP. To differentiate these mechanisms, we have prepared [3-2H]- and [4-2H]-DXP and carried out a competitive secondary kinetic isotope effect (KIE) study of the DXR reaction. The normal 2° KIEs observed for [3-2H]- and [4-2H]-DXP provide compelling evidence supporting a retroaldol/aldol mechanism for the rearrangement catalyzed by DXR, with the rate-limiting step being cleavage of the C3-C4 bond of DXP.
The methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway is essential in most prokaryotes and some lower eukaryotes but absent from human cells, and is a validated target for antimicrobial drug development. The formation of MEP is catalyzed by 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR). MEP pathway genes have been identified in many category A and B biothreat agents, including Francisella tularensis, which causes the zoonosis tularemia. Fosmidomycin (Fos) inhibits purified Francisella DXR. This compound also inhibits the growth of F. tularensis NIH B38, F. novicida and F. tularensis subsp. holarctica LVS bacteria. Related compounds such as FR900098 and the lipophilic prodrug of FR900098 (compound 1) have been developed to improve the bioavailability of these DXR inhibitors. In performing disk-inhibition assays with these compounds, we observed breakthrough colonies of F. novicida in the presence of Fos, suggesting spontaneous development of Fos resistance (FosR). FosR bacteria had decreased sensitivity to both Fos and FR900098. The two most likely targets for the development of mutants would be the DXR enzyme itself or the glycerol-3-phosphate transporter (GlpT) that allows entry of Fos into the bacteria. Sensitivity of FosR
F. novicida bacteria to compound 1 was not abated suggesting that spontaneous resistance is not due to mutation of DXR. We thus predicted that the glpT transporter may be mutated leading to this resistant phenotype. Supporting this, transposon insertion mutants at the glpT locus were also found to be resistant to Fos. DNA sequencing of four different spontaneous FosR colonies demonstrated a variety of deletions in the glpT coding region. The overall frequency of FosR mutations in F. novicida was determined to be 6.3 × 10−8. Thus we conclude that one mechanism of resistance of F. novicida to Fos is caused by mutations in GlpT. This is the first description of spontaneous mutations in Francisella leading to FosR.
Francisella; fosmidomycin; resistance; glycerol-3-phosphate transporter
The photosynthetic cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803 possesses homologs of known genes of the non-mevalonate 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 2-phosphate (MEP) pathway for synthesis of isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP). Isoprenoid biosynthesis in extracts of this cyanobacterium, measured by incorporation of radiolabeled IPP, was not stimulated by pyruvate, an initial substrate of the MEP pathway in Escherichia coli, or by deoxyxylulose-5-phosphate, the first pathway intermediate in E. coli. However, high rates of IPP incorporation were obtained with addition of dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (GA3P), as well as a variety of pentose phosphate cycle compounds. Fosmidomycin (at 1 μM and 1 mM), an inhibitor of deoxyxylulose-5-phosphate reductoisomerase, did not significantly inhibit phototrophic growth of the cyanobacterium, nor did it affect [14C]IPP incorporation stimulated by DHAP plus GA3P. To date, it has not been possible to unequivocally demonstrate IPP isomerase activity in this cyanobacterium. The combined results suggest that the MEP pathway, as described for E. coli, is not the primary path by which isoprenoids are synthesized under photosynthetic conditions in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC6803. Our data support alternative routes of entry of pentose phosphate cycle substrates derived from photosynthesis.
The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for the deaths of more than a million people each year. Fosmidomycin has been proven to be efficient in the treatment of P. falciparum malaria by inhibiting 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR), an enzyme of the non-mevalonate pathway, which is absent in humans. However, the structural details of DXR inhibition by fosmidomycin in P. falciparum are unknown. Here, we report the crystal structures of fosmidomycin-bound complete quaternary complexes of PfDXR. Our study revealed that (i) an intrinsic flexibility of the PfDXR molecule accounts for an induced-fit movement to accommodate the bound inhibitor in the active site and (ii) a cis arrangement of the oxygen atoms of the hydroxamate group of the bound inhibitor is essential for tight binding of the inhibitor to the active site metal. We expect the present structures to be useful guides for the design of more effective antimalarial compounds.
A functional 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway is required for isoprenoid biosynthesis and hence survival in Escherichia coli and most other bacteria. In the first two steps of the pathway, MEP is produced from the central metabolic intermediates pyruvate and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate via 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate (DXP) by the activity of the enzymes DXP synthase (DXS) and DXP reductoisomerase (DXR). Because the MEP pathway is absent from humans, it was proposed as a promising new target to develop new antibiotics. However, the lethal phenotype caused by the deletion of DXS or DXR was found to be suppressed with a relatively high efficiency by unidentified mutations. Here we report that several mutations in the unrelated genes aceE and ribB rescue growth of DXS-defective mutants because the encoded enzymes allowed the production of sufficient DXP in vivo. Together, this work unveils the diversity of mechanisms that can evolve in bacteria to circumvent a blockage of the first step of the MEP pathway.
Isoprenoid biosynthesis is essential for survival of all living organisms. More than 50,000 unique isoprenoids occur naturally, with each constructed from two simple five-carbon precursors: isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP). Two pathways for the biosynthesis of IPP and DMAPP are found in nature. Humans exclusively use the mevalonate (MVA) pathway, while most bacteria, including all Gram-negative and many Gram-positive species, use the unrelated methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway. Here we report the development of a novel, whole-cell phenotypic screening platform to identify compounds that selectively inhibit the MEP pathway. Strains of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium were engineered to have separately inducible MEP (native) and MVA (nonnative) pathways. These strains, RMC26 and CT31-7d, were then used to differentiate MVA pathway- and MEP pathway-specific perturbation. Compounds that inhibit MEP pathway-dependent bacterial growth but leave MVA-dependent growth unaffected represent MEP pathway-selective antibacterials. This screening platform offers three significant results. First, the compound is antibacterial and is therefore cell permeant, enabling access to the intracellular target. Second, the compound inhibits one or more MEP pathway enzymes. Third, the MVA pathway is unaffected, suggesting selectivity for targeting the bacterial versus host pathway. The cell lines also display increased sensitivity to two reported MEP pathway-specific inhibitors, further biasing the platform toward inhibitors selective for the MEP pathway. We demonstrate development of a robust, high-throughput screening platform that combines phenotypic and target-based screening that can identify MEP pathway-selective antibacterials simply by monitoring optical density as the readout for cell growth/inhibition.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis utilizes the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway for biosynthesis of isopentenyl diphosphate and its isomer, dimethylallyl diphosphate, precursors of all isoprenoid compounds. This pathway is of interest as a source of new drug targets, as it is absent from humans and disruption of the responsible genes has shown a lethal phenotype for Escherichia coli. In the MEP pathway, 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-d-erythritol is formed from 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) and CTP in a reaction catalyzed by a 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-d-erythritol synthase (IspD). In the present work, we demonstrate that Rv3582c is essential for M. tuberculosis: Rv3582c has been cloned and expressed, and the encoded protein has been purified. The purified M. tuberculosis IspD protein was capable of catalyzing the formation of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-d-erythritol in the presence of MEP and CTP. The enzyme was active over a broad pH range (pH 6.0 to 9.0), with peak activity at pH 8.0. The activity was absolutely dependent upon divalent cations, with 20 mM Mg2+ being optimal, and replacement of CTP with other nucleotide 5′-triphosphates did not support activity. Under the conditions tested, M. tuberculosis IspD had Km values of 58.5 μM for MEP and 53.2 μM for CTP. Calculated kcat and kcat/Km values were 0.72 min−1 and 12.3 mM−1 min−1 for MEP and 1.0 min−1 and 18.8 mM−1 min−1 for CTP, respectively.
Novel antimalarial drugs are urgently needed to treat severe malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. Isoprenoid biosynthesis is a promising target pathway, since the biosynthetic route in Plasmodia is biochemically distinct from the mevalonate pathway in humans. The small molecule fosmidomycin is an inhibitor of the enzyme responsible for the first dedicated step in isoprenoid biosynthesis, deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR). However, the antimalarial effects of fosmidomycin might not be specific to DXR inhibition and further validation of DXR is warranted. We present the first functional genetic validation of Plasmodium falciparum DXR (PF14_0641). Using a single cross-over strategy, we show that plasmid integration occurs at the DXR locus but only when DXR gene function is preserved, but not when integration disrupts gene function. These data indicate that DXR is required for intraerythrocytic development of Plasmodium falciparum.
Malaria; Isoprenoid biosynthesis; drug targets
In eubacteria, green algae, and plant chloroplasts, isopentenyl diphosphate, a key intermediate in the biosynthesis of isoprenoids, is synthesized by the methylerythritol phosphate pathway. The five carbons of the basic isoprenoid unit are assembled by joining pyruvate and d-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. The reaction is catalyzed by the thiamine diphosphate-dependent enzyme 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase. In Rhodobacter capsulatus, two open reading frames (ORFs) carry the genes that encode 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase. ORF 2816 is located in the photosynthesis-related gene cluster, along with most of the genes required for synthesis of the photosynthetic machinery of the bacterium, whereas ORF 2895 is located elsewhere in the genome. The proteins encoded by ORF 2816 and ORF 2895, 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase A and B, containing a His6 tag, were synthesized in Escherichia coli and purified to greater than 95% homogeneity in two steps. 1-Deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase A appears to be a homodimer with 68 kDa subunits. A new assay was developed, and the following steady-state kinetic constants were determined for 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase A and B: Kmpyruvate = 0.61 and 3.0 mM, Kmd-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate = 150 and 120 μM, and Vmax = 1.9 and 1.4 μmol/min/mg in 200 mM sodium citrate (pH 7.4). The ORF encoding 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase B complemented the disrupted essential dxs gene in E. coli strain FH11.
2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate is the first committed intermediate in the biosynthesis of the isoprenoid precursors isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate. Supplementation of the growth medium with 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol has been shown to complement disruptions in the Escherichia coli gene for 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase, the enzyme that synthesizes the immediate precursor of 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate. In order to be utilized in isoprenoid biosynthesis, 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol must be phosphorylated. We describe the construction of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain RMC26, in which the essential gene encoding 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase has been disrupted by insertion of a synthetic mevalonate operon consisting of the yeast ERG8, ERG12, and ERG19 genes, responsible for converting mevalonate to isopentenyl diphosphate under the control of an arabinose-inducible promoter. Random mutagenesis of RMC26 produced defects in the sorbitol phosphotransferase system that prevented the transport of 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol into the cell. RMC26 and mutant strains of RMC26 unable to grow on 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol were incubated in buffer containing mevalonate and deuterium-labeled 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol. Ubiquinone-8 was isolated from these cells and analyzed for deuterium content. Efficient incorporation of deuterium was observed for RMC26. However, there was no evidence of deuterium incorporation into the isoprenoid side chain of ubiquinone Q8 in the RMC26 mutants.
The structure of a triclinic crystal form of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase has been determined. Comparisons with a previously reported monoclinic crystal form raise questions about our knowledge of the quaternary structure of this enzyme.
4-Diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase (IspE; EC 126.96.36.199) contributes to the 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate or mevalonate-independent biosynthetic pathway that produces the isomers isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate. These five-carbon compounds are the fundamental building blocks for the biosynthesis of isoprenoids. The mevalonate-independent pathway does not occur in humans, but is present and has been shown to be essential in many dangerous pathogens, i.e. Plasmodium species, which cause malaria, and Gram-negative bacteria. Thus, the enzymes involved in this pathway have attracted attention as potential drug targets. IspE produces 4-diphosphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol 2-phosphate by ATP-dependent phosphorylation of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol. A triclinic crystal structure of the Escherichia coli IspE–ADP complex with two molecules in the asymmetric unit was determined at 2 Å resolution and compared with a monoclinic crystal form of a ternary complex of E. coli IspE also with two molecules in the asymmetric unit. The molecular packing is different in the two forms. In the asymmetric unit of the triclinic crystal form the substrate-binding sites of IspE are occluded by structural elements of the partner, suggesting that the ‘triclinic dimer’ is an artefact of the crystal lattice. The surface area of interaction in the triclinic form is almost double that observed in the monoclinic form, implying that the dimeric assembly in the monoclinic form may also be an artifact of crystallization.
mevalonate-independent pathway; isoprenoid biosynthesis; kinases
Engineering biosynthetic pathways in heterologous microbial host organisms offers an elegant approach to pathway elucidation via the incorporation of putative biosynthetic enzymes and characterization of resulting novel metabolites. Our previous work in Escherichia coli demonstrated the feasibility of a facile modular approach to engineering the production of labdane-related diterpene (20 carbon) natural products. However, yield was limited (<0.1 mg/L), presumably due to reliance on endogenous production of the isoprenoid precursors dimethylallyl diphosphate and isopentenyl diphosphate. Here, we report incorporation of either a heterologous mevalonate pathway (MEV) or enhancement of the endogenous methyl erythritol phosphate pathway (MEP) with our modular metabolic engineering system. With MEP pathway enhancement, it was found that pyruvate supplementation of rich media and simultaneous overexpression of three genes (idi, dxs, and dxr) resulted in the greatest increase in diterpene yield, indicating distributed metabolic control within this pathway. Incorporation of a heterologous MEV pathway in bioreactor grown cultures resulted in significantly higher yields than MEP pathway enhancement. We have established suitable growth conditions for diterpene production levels ranging from 10 to >100 mg/L of E. coli culture. These amounts are sufficient for nuclear magnetic resonance analyses, enabling characterization of enzymatic products and hence, pathway elucidation. Furthermore, these results represent an up to >1,000-fold improvement in diterpene production from our facile, modular platform, with MEP pathway enhancement offering a cost effective alternative with reasonable yield. Finally, we reiterate here that this modular approach is expandable and should be easily adaptable to the production of any terpenoid natural product.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00253-009-2219-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Terpenoid; Natural products biosynthesis; Metabolic engineering; Isoprenoid
Fosmidomycin acts through inhibition of 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate (DOXP) reductoisomerase, a key enzyme of the nonmevalonate pathway of isoprenoid biosynthesis. It possesses potent antimalarial activity in vitro and in murine malaria. In a recent clinical study, fosmidomycin was effective and well tolerated in the treatment of patients with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria but resulted in an unacceptably high rate of recrudescence. In order to identify a potential combination partner, the interaction of fosmidomycin with a number of antimalarial drugs in current use was investigated in a series of in vitro experiments. Synergy was observed between fosmidomycin and the lincosamides, lincomycin and clindamycin. The efficacy of a combination of fosmidomycin and clindamycin was subsequently demonstrated in the Plasmodium vinckei mouse model.
Antimicrobial drug resistance is an urgent problem in control and treatment of many of the world's most serious infections, including Plasmodium falciparum malaria, tuberculosis, and healthcare-associated infections with Gram-negative bacteria. Because the non-mevalonate pathway of isoprenoid biosynthesis is essential in eubacteria and P. falciparum, and this pathway is not present in humans, there is great interest in targeting the enzymes of non-mevalonate metabolism for antibacterial and antiparasitic drug development. Fosmidomycin is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent currently in clinical trials of combination therapies to treat malaria. In vitro, fosmidomycin is known to inhibit the deoxyxylulose phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR) enzyme of isoprenoid biosynthesis from multiple pathogenic organisms. To define the in vivo metabolic response to fosmidomycin, we developed a novel mass spectrometry method to quantitate six metabolites of non-mevalonate isoprenoid metabolism from complex biological samples. Using this technique, we validate that the biological effects of fosmidomycin are mediated through blockade of de novo isoprenoid biosynthesis in both P. falciparum malaria parasites and E. coli bacteria: in both organisms, metabolic profiling demonstrated a block in isoprenoid metabolism following fosmidomycin treatment, and growth inhibition due to fosmidomycin was rescued by media supplemented with isoprenoid metabolites. Isoprenoid metabolism proceeded through DXR even in the presence of fosmidomycin, but was inhibited at the level of the downstream enzyme, methylerythritol phosphate cytidyltransferase (IspD). Overexpression of IspD in E. coli conferred fosmidomycin resistance, and fosmidomycin was found to inhibit IspD in vitro. This work has validated fosmidomycin as a biological reagent to block non-mevalonate isoprenoid metabolism, and suggests a second in vivo target for fosmidomycin within isoprenoid biosynthesis, in two evolutionarily diverse pathogens.
The biosynthesis of isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) from either the mevalonate (MVA) or the 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate (DXP) pathway provides the key metabolite for primary and secondary isoprenoid biosynthesis. Isoprenoid metabolism plays crucial roles in membrane stability, steroid biosynthesis, vitamin production, protein localization, defense and communication, photoprotection, sugar transport, and glycoprotein biosynthesis. Recently, an alternative branch of the MVA pathway was discovered in the archaeon Methanocaldococcus jannaschii involving a small molecule kinase, isopentenyl phosphate kinase (IPK). IPK belongs to the amino acid kinase (AAK) superfamily. In vitro, IPK phosphorylates isopentenyl monophosphate (IP) in an ATP and Mg2+-dependent reaction producing IPP. Here, we describe crystal structures of IPK from M. jannaschii refined to nominal resolutions of 2.0−2.8 Å. Notably, an active site histidine residue (His60) forms a hydrogen bond with the terminal phosphate of both substrate and product. This His residue serves as a marker for a subset of the AAK family that catalyzes phosphorylation of phosphate or phosphonate functional groups; the larger family includes carboxyl-directed kinases, which lack this active site residue. Using steady-state kinetic analysis of H60A, H60N, and H60Q mutants, the protonated form of the Nε2 nitrogen of His60 was shown to be essential for catalysis, most likely through hydrogen bond stabilization of the transition state accompanying transphosphorylation. Moreover, the structures served as the starting point for the engineering of IPK mutants capable of the chemoenzymatic synthesis of longer chain isoprenoid diphosphates from monophosphate precursors.
The biogenesis of isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) and dimethylallyl pyrophosphate (DMAPP) is accomplished by the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway in plants, bacteria and parasites, making it a potential target for the development of anti-infective agents and herbicides. The biosynthetic enzymes comprising this pathway catalyze intriguing chemical transformations on diphosphate scaffolds, offering an opportunity to generate novel analogs in this synthetically challenging compound class. Such a biosynthetic approach to generating new diphosphate analogs may involve transformation through discrete diphosphate species, presenting unique challenges in structure determination and characterization of unnatural enzyme-generated diphosphate products produced in tandem. We have developed 1H–31P–31P correlation NMR spectroscopy techniques for the direct characterization of crude MEP pathway enzyme products at low concentrations (200 μM to 5 mM) on a room temperature (non-cryogenic) NMR probe. Coupling the 100% natural abundance of the 31P nucleus with the high intrinsic sensitivity of proton NMR, 1H–31P–31P correlation spectroscopy is particularly useful for characterization of unnatural diphosphate enzyme products in the MEP pathway. As proof of principle, we demonstrate the rapid characterization of natural enzyme products of the enzymes IspD, E and F in tandem enzyme incubations. In addition, we have characterized several unnatural enzyme products using this technique, including new products of cytidyltransferase IspD bearing erythritol, glycerol and ribose components. The results of this study indicate that IspD may be a useful biocatalyst and highlight 1H–31P–31P correlation spectroscopy as a valuable tool for the characterization of other unnatural products in non-mammalian isoprenoid biosynthesis.