• The AibR-isovaleryl coenzyme A regulator and its DNA binding site - a model for the regulation of alternative de novo isovaleryl coenzyme A biosynthesis in Myxococcus xanthus.

      Bock, Tobias; Volz, Carsten; Hering, Vanessa; Scrima, Andrea; Müller, Rolf; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Hel,holtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12-09)
      Isovaleryl coenzyme A (IV-CoA) is an important building block of iso-fatty acids. In myxobacteria, IV-CoA is essential for the formation of signaling molecules involved in fruiting body formation. Leucine degradation is the common source of IV-CoA, but a second, de novo biosynthetic route to IV-CoA termed AIB (alternative IV-CoA biosynthesis) was recently discovered in M. xanthus The AIB-operon contains the TetR-like transcriptional regulator AibR, which we characterize in this study. We demonstrate that IV-CoA binds AibR with micromolar affinity and show by gelshift experiments that AibR interacts with the promoter region of the AIB-operon once IV-CoA is present. We identify an 18-bp near-perfect palindromic repeat as containing the AibR operator and provide evidence that AibR also controls an additional genomic locus coding for a putative acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase. To elucidate atomic details, we determined crystal structures of AibR in the apo, the IV-CoA- and the IV-CoA-DNA-bound state to 1.7 Å, 2.35 Å and 2.92 Å, respectively. IV-CoA induces partial unfolding of an α-helix, which allows sequence-specific interactions between AibR and its operator. This study provides insights into AibR-mediated regulation and shows that AibR functions in an unusual TetR-like manner by blocking transcription not in the ligand-free but in the effector-bound state.
    • Structural, mechanistic and functional insight into gliotoxin bis-thiomethylation in Aspergillus fumigatus.

      Dolan, Stephen K; Bock, Tobias; Hering, Vanessa; Owens, Rebecca A; Jones, Gary W; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Doyle, Sean; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02)
      Gliotoxin is an epipolythiodioxopiperazine (ETP) class toxin, contains a disulfide bridge that mediates its toxic effects via redox cycling and is produced by the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus Self-resistance against gliotoxin is effected by the gliotoxin oxidase GliT, and attenuation of gliotoxin biosynthesis is catalysed by gliotoxin S-methyltransferase GtmA. Here we describe the X-ray crystal structures of GtmA-apo (1.66 Å), GtmA complexed to S-adenosylhomocysteine (1.33 Å) and GtmA complexed to S-adenosylmethionine (2.28 Å), providing mechanistic insights into this important biotransformation. We further reveal that simultaneous elimination of the ability of A. fumigatus to dissipate highly reactive dithiol gliotoxin, via deletion of GliT and GtmA, results in the most significant hypersensitivity to exogenous gliotoxin observed to date. Indeed, quantitative proteomic analysis of ΔgliT::ΔgtmA reveals an uncontrolled over-activation of the gli-cluster upon gliotoxin exposure. The data presented herein reveal, for the first time, the extreme risk associated with intracellular dithiol gliotoxin biosynthesis-in the absence of an efficient dismutation capacity. Significantly, a previously concealed protective role for GtmA and functionality of ETP bis-thiomethylation as an ancestral protection strategy against dithiol compounds is now evident.