Crystal structure of VmoLac, a tentative quorum quenching lactonase from the extremophilic crenarchaeon Vulcanisaeta moutnovskia

Sci Rep. 2015 Feb 11:5:8372. doi: 10.1038/srep08372.


A new representative of the Phosphotriesterase-Like Lactonases (PLLs) family from the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon Vulcanisaeta moutnovskia has been characterized and crystallized. VmoLac is a native, proficient lactonase with promiscuous, low phosphotriesterase activity. VmoLac therefore represents an interesting candidate for engineering studies, with the aim of developing an efficient bacterial quorum-quenching agent. Here, we provide an extensive biochemical and kinetic characterization of VmoLac and describe the X-ray structures of the enzyme bound to a fatty acid and to its cognate substrate 3-oxo-C10 AHL (Acyl-Homoserine Lactone). The structures highlight possible structural determinants that may be involved in its extreme thermal stability (Tm = 128 °C). Moreover, the structure reveals that the substrate binding mode of VmoLac significantly differs from those of its close homologues, possibly explaining the substrate specificity of the enzyme. Finally, we describe the specific interactions between the enzyme and its substrate, and discuss the possible lactone hydrolysis mechanism of VmoLac.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyl-Butyrolactones / chemistry*
  • Archaea / enzymology*
  • Archaeal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Phosphoric Triester Hydrolases / chemistry*


  • Acyl-Butyrolactones
  • Archaeal Proteins
  • Phosphoric Triester Hydrolases