Evolution of aromatic prenyltransferases in the biosynthesis of indole derivatives.

Research paper by Shu-Ming SM Li

Indexed on: 29 Apr '09Published on: 29 Apr '09Published in: Phytochemistry


A series of putative indole prenyltransferase genes could be identified in the genome sequences of different fungal strains including Aspergillus fumigatus and Neosartorya fischeri. The gene products show significant sequence similarities to dimethylallyltryptophan synthases from different fungi. We have cloned and overexpressed seven of these genes, fgaPT1, fgaPT2, ftmPT1, ftmPT2, 7-dmats, cdpNPT and anaPT in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The overproduced enzymes were characterised biochemically. Three additional indole prenyltransferases, DmaW-Cs, TdiB and MaPT were also identified and characterised in the last years. Sequence analysis and comparison with known aromatic prenyltransferases as well as biochemical investigation revealed that these enzymes belong to a group of aromatic prenyltransferases. The characterised prenyltransferases are soluble proteins, catalyse different prenyl transfer reactions on indole moieties of various substrates and do not require divalent metal ions for their prenyl transfer reactions. In addition, indole prenyltransferases carry tryptophan aminopeptidase activity, which strengths their relationship in the evolution. These properties differ clearly from membrane-bound aromatic prenyltransferases from different sources and soluble prenyltransferases from bacteria. All of the indole prenyltransferases accepted only dimethylallyl diphosphate as prenyl donor. On the other hand, they showed broad substrate specificity towards their aromatic substrates. Diverse simple tryptophan derivatives and tryptophan-containing cyclic dipeptides were accepted by these enzymes, providing a strategy for convenient production of biologically active substances, e.g. by chemoenzymatic synthesis.