The Enterococcal Cytolysin Synthetase Coevolves with Substrate for Stereoselective Lanthionine Synthesis

Weixin Tang, Gabrielle N. Thibodeaux, Wilfred A. Van Der Donk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stereochemical control is critical in natural product biosynthesis. For ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs), the mechanism(s) by which stereoselectivity is achieved is still poorly understood. In this work, we focused on the stereoselective lanthionine synthesis in lanthipeptides, a major class of RiPPs formed by the addition of Cys residues to dehydroalanine (Dha) or dehydrobutyrine (Dhb). Nonenzymatic cyclization of the small subunit of a virulence lanthipeptide, the enterococcal cytolysin, resulted in the native modified peptide as the major product, suggesting that both regioselectivity and stereoselectivity are inherent to the dehydrated peptide sequence. These results support previous computational studies that a Dhx-Dhx-Xxx-Xxx-Cys motif (Dhx = Dha or Dhb; Xxx = any amino acid except Dha, Dhb, and Cys) preferentially cyclizes by attack on the Re face of Dha or Dhb. Characterization of the stereochemistry of the products formed enzymatically with substrate mutants revealed that the lanthionine synthetase actively reinforces Re face attack. These findings support the hypothesis of substrate-controlled selectivity in lanthionine synthesis but also reveal likely coevolution of substrates and lanthionine synthetases to ensure the stereoselective synthesis of lanthipeptides with defined biological activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2438-2446
Number of pages9
JournalACS chemical biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 16 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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