Cryptic indole hydroxylation by a non-canonical terpenoid cyclase parallels bacterial xenobiotic detoxification

Nature Communications, volume 8, Article number: 15804 (2017) doi:10.1038/ncomms15804
Nature Communications, online article

Terpenoid natural products comprise a wide range of molecular architectures that typically result from C–C bond formations catalysed by classical type I/II terpene cyclases. However, the molecular diversity of biologically active terpenoids is substantially increased by fully unrelated, non-canonical terpenoid cyclases. Their evolutionary origin has remained enigmatic. Here we report the in vitro reconstitution of an unusual flavin-dependent bacterial indoloterpenoid cyclase, XiaF, together with a designated flavoenzyme-reductase (XiaP) that mediates a key step in xiamycin biosynthesis. The crystal structure of XiaF with bound FADH2 (at 2.4 Å resolution) and phylogenetic analyses reveal that XiaF is, surprisingly, most closely related to xenobiotic-degrading enzymes. Biotransformation assays show that XiaF is a designated indole hydroxylase that can be used for the production of indigo and indirubin. We unveil a cryptic hydroxylation step that sets the basis for terpenoid cyclization and suggest that the cyclase has evolved from xenobiotics detoxification enzymes.

TU München
Helmholtz München
MPI of Neurobiology
MPI of Biochemistry