Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.536, 107-114, 2021
Dynamic coupling analysis on plant sesquiterpene synthases provides leads for the identification of product specificity determinants
Sesquiterpene synthases catalyse cyclisation of farnesyl pyrophosphate to produce diverse sesquiterpenes. Despite utilising the same substrate and exhibiting significant sequence and structural homology, these enzymes form different products. Previous efforts were based on identifying the effect of divergent residues present at the catalytic binding pocket on the product specificity of these enzymes. However, the rationales deduced for the product specificity from these studies were not generic enough to be applicable to other phylogenetically distant members of this family. To address this problem, we have developed a novel approach combining sequence, structural and dynamical information of plant sesquiterpene synthases (SSQs) to predict product modulating residues (PMRs). We tested this approach on the SSQs with known PMRs and also on sesquisabinene synthase 1 (SaSQS1), a SSQ from Indian sandalwood. Our results show that the dynamical sectors of SSQs obtained from molecular dynamics simulation and their hydrophobicity and vicinity indices together provide leads for the identification of PMRs. The efficacy of the technique was tested on SaSQS1 using mutagenesis. To the best of our knowledge, this is a first technique of this kind which provides cues on PMRs of SSQs, with divergent phylogenetic relationship. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.