The production and utilization of GDP-glucose in the biosynthesis of trehalose-6-phosphate by Streptomyces venezuelae

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Trehalose-6-phosphate synthase OtsA from streptomycetes is unusual in that it uses GDP-glucose as the donor substrate rather than the more commonly used UDP-glucose. We now confirm that OtsA from Streptomyces venezuelae has such a preference for GDP-glucose and can utilise ADP-glucose to some extent too. A crystal structure of the enzyme shows that it shares twin Rossmann-like domains with the UDP-glucose-specific OtsA from Escherichia coli However, it is structurally more similar to Streptomyces hygroscopicus VldE, a GDP-valienol-dependent pseudo-glycosyltransferase enzyme. Comparison of the donor binding sites reveals that the amino acids associated with the binding of diphosphoribose are almost all identical in these three enzymes. By contrast, the amino acids associated with binding guanine in VldE (Asn, Thr and Val) are similar in S. venezuelae OtsA (Asp, Ser and Phe, respectively) but not conserved in E. coli OtsA (His, Leu and Asp, respectively), providing a rationale for the purine base-specificity of S. venezuelae OtsA. To establish which donor is used in vivo, we generated an otsA null mutant in S. venezuelae The mutant had a cell-density-dependent growth phenotype and accumulated galactose-1-phosphate, glucose-1-phosphate and GDP-glucose when grown on galactose. To determine how the GDP-glucose is generated, we characterised three candidate GDP-glucose pyrophosphorylases. SVEN_3027 is a UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, SVEN_3972 is an unusual ITP-mannose pyrophosphorylase, and SVEN_2781 is a pyrophosphorylase that is capable of generating GDP-glucose as well as GDP-mannose. We have therefore established how S. venezuelae can make and utilise GDP-glucose in the biosynthesis of trehalose-6-phosphate.