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Investigation of Substrate Recognition and Biosynthesis in Class IV Lanthipeptide Systems

Hegemann, Julian D., van der Donk, Wilfred A.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018 v.140 no.17 pp. 5743-5754
Escherichia coli, biosynthesis, in vitro studies, ligases, mutational analysis, peptides, protein domains, signal peptide, tandem mass spectrometry
Lanthipeptides belong to the family of ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) and are subdivided into four classes. The first two classes have been heavily studied, but less is known about classes III and IV. The lanthipeptide synthetases of classes III and IV share a similar organization of protein domains: A lyase domain at the N-terminus, a central kinase domain, and a C-terminal cyclase domain. Here, we provide deeper insight into class IV enzymes (LanLs). A series of putative producer strains was screened to identify production conditions of four new venezuelin-like lanthipeptides, and an Escherichia coli based heterologous production system was established for a fifth. The latter not only allowed production of fully modified core peptide but was also employed as the basis for mutational analysis of the precursor peptide to identify regions important for enzyme recognition. These experiments were complemented by in vitro binding studies aimed at identifying the region of the leader peptide recognized by the LanL enzymes as well as determining which domain of the enzyme is recognizing the substrate peptide. Combined, these studies revealed that the kinase domain is mediating the interaction with the precursor peptide and that a putatively α-helical stretch of residues at the center to N-terminal region of the leader peptide is important for enzyme recognition. In addition, a combination of in vitro assays and tandem mass spectrometry was used to elucidate the order of dehydration events in these systems.