Research Article

Chimeras of Two Isoprenoid Synthases Catalyze All Four Coupling Reactions in Isoprenoid Biosynthesis

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Science  06 Apr 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5821, pp. 73-76
DOI: 10.1126/science.1137786

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The carbon skeletons of over 55,000 naturally occurring isoprenoid compounds are constructed from four fundamental coupling reactions: chain elongation, cyclopropanation, branching, and cyclobutanation. Enzymes that catalyze chain elongation and cyclopropanation are well studied, whereas those that catalyze branching and cyclobutanation are unknown. We have catalyzed the four reactions with chimeric proteins generated by replacing segments of a chain-elongation enzyme with corresponding sequences from a cyclopropanation enzyme. Stereochemical and mechanistic considerations suggest that the four coupling enzymes could have evolved from a common ancestor through relatively small changes in the catalytic site.

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