Bacterial isothiocyanate biosynthesis by Rhodanese-catalyzed sulfur transfer onto Isonitriles.

Mlotek MD, Dose B, Hertweck C (2023) Bacterial isothiocyanate biosynthesis by Rhodanese-catalyzed sulfur transfer onto Isonitriles. Chembiochem 25(3), e202300732.

Abstract

Natural products bearing isothiocyanate (ITC) groups are an important group of specialized metabolites that play various roles in health, nutrition, and ecology. Whereas ITC biosynthesis via glucosinolates in plants has been studied in detail, there is a gap in understanding the bacterial route to specialized metabolites with such reactive heterocumulene groups, as in the antifungal sinapigladioside from Burkholderia gladioli. Here we propose an alternative ITC pathway by enzymatic sulfur transfer onto isonitriles catalyzed by rhodanese-like enzymes (thiosulfate:cyanide sulfurtransferases). Mining the B. gladioli genome revealed six candidate genes (rhdA-F), which were individually expressed in E. coli. By means of a synthetic probe, the gene products were evaluated for their ability to produce the key ITC intermediate in the sinapigladioside pathway. In vitro biotransformation assays identified RhdE, a prototype single-domain rhodanese, as the most potent ITC synthase. Interestingly, while RhdE also efficiently transforms cyanide into thiocyanate, it shows high specificity for the natural pathway intermediate, indicating that the sinapigladioside pathway has recruited a ubiquitous detoxification enzyme for the formation of a bioactive specialized metabolite. These findings not only elucidate an elusive step in bacterial ITC biosynthesis but also reveals an overlooked function of rhodanese-like enzymes.

Leibniz-HKI-Autor*innen

Benjamin Dose
Christian Hertweck
Mandy Mlotek

Identifier

doi: 10.1002/cbic.202300732

PMID: 37917130