The Crystal Structure of Cysteamine Dioxygenase Reveals the Origin of the Large Substrate Scope of This Vital Mammalian Enzyme

Biochemistry. 2021 Nov 11. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00463. Online ahead of print.


We report the crystal structure of the mammalian non-heme iron enzyme cysteamine dioxygenase (ADO) at 1.9 Å resolution, which shows an Fe and three-histidine (3-His) active site situated at the end of a wide substrate access channel. The open approach to the active site is consistent with the recent discovery that ADO catalyzes not only the conversion of cysteamine to hypotaurine but also the oxidation of N-terminal cysteine (Nt-Cys) peptides to their corresponding sulfinic acids as part of the eukaryotic N-degron pathway. Whole-protein models of ADO in complex with either cysteamine or an Nt-Cys peptide, generated using molecular dynamics and quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics calculations, suggest occlusion of access to the active site by peptide substrate binding. This finding highlights the importance of a small tunnel that leads from the opposite face of the enzyme into the active site, providing a path through which co-substrate O2 could access the Fe center. Intriguingly, the entrance to this tunnel is guarded by two Cys residues that may form a disulfide bond to regulate O2 delivery in response to changes in the intracellular redox potential. Notably, the Cys and tyrosine residues shown to be capable of forming a cross-link in human ADO reside ∼7 Å from the iron center. As such, cross-link formation may not be structurally or functionally significant in ADO.