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Extremophiles. 2014 Nov;18(6):973-85. doi: 10.1007/s00792-014-0667-4. Epub 2014 Jul 5.

Crystal structure and in silico studies of dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) from Aquifex aeolicus.

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  • 1Centre of Advanced Study in Crystallography and Biophysics, University of Madras, Guindy Campus, Chennai, 600 025, India.


Dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS, E.C. catalyzes the first committed step in the lysine biosynthetic pathway: the condensation of (S)-aspartate semialdehyde and pyruvate to form (4S)-4-hydroxy-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-(2S)-dipicolinic acid. Since (S)-lysine biosynthesis does not occur in animals, DHDPS is an attractive target for rational antibiotic and herbicide design. Here, we report the crystal structure of DHDPS from a hyperthermophilic bacterium Aquifex aeolicus (AqDHDPS). L-Lysine is used as an important animal feed additive where the production is at the level of 1.5 million tons per year. The biotechnological manufacture of lysine has been going for more than 50 years which includes over synthesis and reverse engineering of DHDPS. AqDHDPS revealed a unique disulfide linkage which is not conserved in the homologues of AqDHDPS. In silico mutation of C139A and intermolecular ion-pair residues and the subsequent molecular dynamics simulation of the mutants showed that these residues are critical for the stability of AqDHDPS tetramer. MD simulations of AqDHDPS at three different temperatures (303, 363 and 393 K) revealed that the molecule is stable at 363 K. Thus, this structural and in silico study of AqDHDPS likely provides additional details towards the rational and structure-based design of hyper-L-lysine producing bacterial strains.

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