Establishment of an in vitro D-cycloserine-synthesizing system by using O-ureido-L-serine synthase and D-cycloserine synthetase found in the biosynthetic pathway

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Jun;57(6):2603-12. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02291-12. Epub 2013 Mar 25.


We have recently cloned a DNA fragment containing a gene cluster that is responsible for the biosynthesis of an antituberculosis antibiotic, D-cycloserine. The gene cluster is composed of 10 open reading frames, designated dcsA to dcsJ. Judging from the sequence similarity between each putative gene product and known proteins, DcsC, which displays high homology to diaminopimelate epimerase, may catalyze the racemization of O-ureidoserine. DcsD is similar to O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase, which generates L-cysteine using O-acetyl-L-serine with sulfide, and therefore, DcsD may be a synthase to generate O-ureido-L-serine using O-acetyl-L-serine and hydroxyurea. DcsG, which exhibits similarity to a family of enzymes with an ATP-grasp fold, may be an ATP-dependent synthetase converting O-ureido-D-serine into D-cycloserine. In the present study, to characterize the enzymatic functions of DcsC, DcsD, and DcsG, each protein was overexpressed in Escherichia coli and purified to near homogeneity. The biochemical function of each of the reactions catalyzed by these three proteins was verified by thin-layer chromatography (TLC), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and, in some cases, mass spectrometry. The results from this study demonstrate that by using a mixture of the three purified enzymes and the two commercially available substrates O-acetyl-L-serine and hydroxyurea, synthesis of D-cycloserine was successfully attained. These in vitro studies yield the conclusion that DcsD and DcsG are necessary for the syntheses of O-ureido-L-serine and D-cycloserine, respectively. DcsD was also able to catalyze the synthesis of L-cysteine when sulfide was added instead of hydroxyurea. Furthermore, the present study shows that DcsG can also form other cyclic d-amino acid analogs, such as D-homocysteine thiolactone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / metabolism*
  • Biosynthetic Pathways
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Cycloserine / metabolism*
  • Ligases / genetics
  • Ligases / metabolism*
  • Multigene Family*
  • Serine / metabolism*
  • Streptomyces / enzymology*
  • Streptomyces / genetics
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Serine
  • Cycloserine
  • Ligases