Crystal Structure of Caryolan-1-ol Synthase, a Sesquiterpene Synthase Catalyzing an Initial Anti-Markovnikov Cyclization Reaction

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 May 20:2024.05.04.592530. doi: 10.1101/2024.05.04.592530.


In a continuing effort to understand reaction mechanisms of terpene synthases catalyzing initial anti-Markovnikov cyclization reactions, we solved the X-ray crystal structure of (+)-caryolan-1-ol synthase (CS) from Streptomyces griseus , with and without an inactive analog of the FPP substrate, 2-fluorofarnesyl diphosphate (2FFPP), bound in the active site of the enzyme. The CS-2FFPP complex was solved to 2.65 Å resolution and showed the ligand in a linear, elongated orientation, incapable of undergoing the initial cyclization event to form a bond between carbons C1 and C11. Intriguingly, the apo CS structure (2.2 Å) also had electron density in the active site, in this case density that was well fit with a curled-up tetraethylene glycol molecule presumably recruited from the crystallization medium. The density was also well fit by a molecule of farnesene suggesting that the structure may mimic an intermediate along the reaction coordinate. The curled-up conformation of tetraethylene glycol was accompanied by dramatic rotamer shifts among active-site residues. Most notably, W56 was observed to undergo a 90° rotation between the 2FFPP complex and apo-enzyme structures, suggesting that it contributes to steric interactions that help curl the tetraethylene glycol molecule in the active site, and by extension perhaps also a derivative of the FPP substrate in the normal course of the cyclization reaction. In support of this proposal, the CS W56L variant lost the ability to cyclize the FPP substrate and produced only the linear terpene products farnesol and α- and β-farnesene.

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