Quorum-quenching catalysts are of interest for potential application as biochemical tools for interrogating interbacterial communication pathways, as antibiofouling agents, and as anti-infective agents in plants and animals. Herein, the structure and function of AidC, an N-acyl-L-homoserine lactone (AHL) lactonase from Chryseobacterium, is characterized. Steady-state kinetics show that zinc-supplemented AidC is the most efficient wild-type quorum-quenching enzymes characterized to date, with a k<inf>cat</inf>/K<inf>M</inf> value of approximately 2 × 10<sup>6</sup> M<sup>-1</sup> s<sup>-1</sup> for N-heptanoyl-L-homoserine lactone. The enzyme has stricter substrate selectivity and significantly lower K<inf>M</inf> values (ca. 50 μM for preferred substrates) compared to those of typical AHL lactonases (ca. >1 mM). X-ray crystal structures of AidC alone and with the product N-hexanoyl-l-homoserine were determined at resolutions of 1.09 and 1.67 Å, respectively. Each structure displays as a dimer, and dimeric oligiomerization was also observed in solution by size-exclusion chromatography coupled with multiangle light scattering. The structures reveal two atypical features as compared to previously characterized AHL lactonases: a "kinked" α-helix that forms part of a closed binding pocket that provides affinity and enforces selectivity for AHL substrates and an active-site His substitution that is usually found in a homologous family of phosphodiesterases. Implications for the catalytic mechanism of AHL lactonases are discussed. (Figure Presented).
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