Comparative sequence analysis and mutagenesis of Ethylene Forming Enzyme (EFE) 2-oxoglutarate/Fe(II)-dependent dioxygenase homologs
Journal article, 2014
Background: Ethylene is one of the most used chemical monomers derived from non-renewable sources and we are investigating the possibility of producing it in yeast via the ethylene forming enzyme (EFE) from Pseudomonas syringae. To enable engineering strategies to improve the enzyme, it is necessary to identify the regions and amino acid residues involved in ethylene formation.
Results: We identified the open reading frame for the EFE homolog in Penicillium digitatum and also showed its capability of mediating ethylene production in yeast. The sequence of the EFE homologs from P. digitatum and P. syringae was compared to that of the non-functional EFE-homolog from Penicillium chrysogenum and ten amino acids were found to correlate with ethylene production. Several of these amino acid residues were found to be important for ethylene production via point mutations in P. syringae EFE. The EFE homolog from P. chrysogenum was engineered at 10 amino acid residues to mimic the P. syringae EFE, but this did not confer ethylene producing capability. Furthermore, we predicted the structure of EFE by homology to known structures of 2-oxoglutarate/Fe(II) dependent dioxygenases. Three of the amino acids correlating with ethylene production are located in the predicted 2 oxoglutarate binding domain. A protein domain specific for the EFE class was shown to be essential for activity. Based on the structure and alanine substitutions, it is likely that amino acids (H189, D191 and H268) are responsible for binding the Fe(II) ligand.
Conclusion: We provide further insight into the structure and function of the ethylene forming (EFE) - subclass of 2-oxoglutarate/Fe(II) dependent dioxygenases. We conclude that residues in addition to the 10 identified positions implicated in ethylene production by sequence comparison, are important for determining ethylene formation. We also demonstrate the use of an alternative EFE gene. The data from this study will provide the basis for directed protein engineering to enhance the ethylene production capability and properties of EFE.