Lactonases comprise a class of enzymes that hydrolyze lactones, including acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs); the latter are used as chemical signaling molecules by numerous Gram-negative bacteria. Lactonases have therefore been demonstrated to quench AHL-based bacterial communication. In particular, lactonases are capable of inhibiting bacterial behaviors that depend on these chemicals, such as the formation of biofilms or the expression of virulence factors. A novel representative from the metallo-β-lactamase superfamily, named AaL, was isolated from the thermoacidophilic bacterium Alicyclobacter acidoterrestris. Kinetic characterization proves AaL to be a proficient lactonase, with catalytic efficiencies (kcat/Km) against AHLs in the region of 105 M-1 s-1. AaL exhibits a very broad substrate specificity. Its structure is expected to reveal the molecular determinants for its substrate binding and specificity, as well as to provide grounds for future protein-engineering projects. Here, the expression, purification, characterization, crystallization and X-ray diffraction data collection of AaL at 1.65 Å resolution are reported.
Keywords: Alicyclobacter acidoterrestris; lactonases; quorum quenching; quorum sensing; thermophiles.