Structural basis for Acyl acceptor specificity in the achromobactin biosynthetic enzyme AcsD

Stefan Schmelz, Catherine H. Botting, Lijiang Song, Nadia F. Kadi, Gregory L. Challis, James H. Naismith

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Siderophores are known virulence factors, and their biosynthesis is a target for new antibacterial agents. A non-ribosomal peptide synthetase-independent siderophore biosynthetic pathway in Dickeya dadantii is responsible for production of the siderophore achromobactin. The D. dadantii achromobactin biosynthesis protein D (AcsD) enzyme has been shown to enantioselectively esterify citric acid with l-serine in the first committed step of achromobactin biosynthesis. The reaction occurs in two steps: stereospecific activation of citric acid by adenylation, followed by attack of the enzyme-bound citryl adenylate by l-serine to produce the homochiral ester. We now report a detailed characterization of the substrate profile and mechanism of the second (acyl transfer) step of AcsD enzyme. We demonstrate that the enzyme catalyzes formation of not only esters but also amides from the citryl-adenylate intermediate. We have rationalized the substrate utilization profile for the acylation reaction by determining the first X-ray crystal structure of a product complex for this enzyme class. We have identified the residues that are important for both recognition of l-serine and catalysis of ester formation. Our hypotheses were tested by biochemical analysis of various mutants, one of which shows a reversal of specificity from the wild type with respect to non-natural substrates. This change can be rationalized on the basis of our structural data. That this change in specificity is accompanied by no loss in activity suggests that AcsD and other members of the non-ribosomal peptide synthetase-independent siderophore superfamily may have biotransformation potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-504
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • chemical biology
  • crystallography
  • mass spectrometry
  • mechanism
  • siderophores

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