High Versatility of IPP and DMAPP Methyltransferases Enables Synthesis of C6, C7 and C8 Terpenoid Building Blocks

L. Drummond, P. J. Haque, B. Gu, J. S. Jung, H. Schewe, J. S. Dickschat, M. Buchhaupt


The natural substance class of terpenoids covers an extremely wide range of different structures, although their building block repertoire is limited to the C 5 compounds DMAPP and IPP. This study aims at the characterization of methyltransferases (MTases) that modify these terpene precursors and the demonstration of their suitability for biotechnological purposes. All seven enzymes tested accepted IPP as substrate and altogether five C 6 compounds and six C 7 compounds were formed within the reactions. A high deprotonation site selectivity as well as high stereoselectivity could be observed for most of the biocatalysts. Only the enzyme from Micromonospora humi also accepted DMAPP as substrate, converting it into ( R )-2-methyl-IPP in vitro. In vivo studies demonstrated the production of a C 8 compound and a hydride shift step within the MTase-catalyzed reaction. Our study presents IPP / DMAPP MTases with very different catalytic properties, which provide biosynthetic access to many novel terpene-derived structures.

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