(S)-2,3-Di-O-geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate synthase from the thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus: Molecular cloning and characterization of a membrane-intrinsic prenyltransferase involved in the biosynthesis of archaeal ether-linked membrane lipids

Hisashi Hemmi, Kyohei Shibuya, Yoshihiro Takahashi, Toru Nakayama, Tokuzo Nishino

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44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The core structure of membrane lipids of archaea have some unique properties that permit archaea to be distinguished from the others, i.e. bacteria and eukaryotes. (S)-2,3-Di-O-geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate synthase, which catalyzes the transfer of a geranylgeranyl group from geranylgeranyl diphosphate to (S)-3-O-geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate, is involved in the biosynthesis of archaeal membrane lipids. Enzymes of the UbiA prenyltransferase family are known to catalyze the transfer of a prenyl group to various acceptors with hydrophobic ring structures in the biosynthesis of respiratory quinones, hemes, chlorophylls, vitamin E, and shikonin. The thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus was found to encode three homologues of UbiA prenyltransferase in its genome. One of the homologues encoded by SSO0583 was expressed in Escherichia coli, purified, and characterized. Radio-assay and mass spectrometry analysis data indicated that the enzyme specifically catalyzes the biosynthesis of (S)-2,3-di-O-geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate. The fact that the orthologues of the enzyme are encoded in almost all archaeal genomes clearly indicates the importance of their functions. A phylogenetic tree constructed using the amino acid sequences of some typical members of the UbiA prenyltransferase family and their homologues from S. solfataricus suggests that the two other S. solfataricus homologues, excluding the (S)-2,3-di-O- geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate synthase, are involved in the production of respiratory quinone and heme, respectively. We propose here that archaeal prenyltransferases involved in membrane lipid biosynthesis might be prototypes of the protein family and that archaea might have played an important role in the molecular evolution of prenyltransferases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50197-50203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume279
Issue number48
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Nov 26

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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