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Structural studies of geosmin synthase, a bifunctional sesquiterpene synthase with αα domain architecture that catalyzes a unique cyclization-fragmentation reaction sequence
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Geosmin synthase from Streptomyces coelicolor (ScGS) catalyzes an unusual, metal-dependent terpenoid cyclization and fragmentation reaction sequence. Two distinct active sites are required for catalysis: the N-terminal domain catalyzes the ionization and cyclization of farnesyl diphosphate to form germacradienol and inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), and the C-terminal domain catalyzes the protonation, cyclization, and fragmentation of germacradienol to form geosmin and acetone through a retro-Prins reaction. A unique αα domain architecture is predicted for ScGS based on amino acid sequence: each domain contains the metal-binding motifs typical of a class I terpenoid cyclase, and each domain requires Mg2+ for catalysis. Here, we report the X-ray crystal structure of the unliganded N-terminal domain of ScGS and the structure of its complex with three Mg2+ ions and alendronate. These structures highlight conformational changes required for active site closure and catalysis. Although neither full-length ScGS nor constructs of the C-terminal domain could be crystallized, homology models of the C-terminal domain were constructed on the basis of 36% sequence identity with the N-terminal domain. Small-angle X-ray scattering experiments yield low-resolution molecular envelopes into which the N-terminal domain crystal structure and the C-terminal domain homology model were fit, suggesting possible αα domain architectures as frameworks for bifunctional catalysis. © 2015 American Chemical Society.