Three-dimensional structure of the quorum-quenching N-acyl homoserine lactone hydrolase from Bacillus thuringiensis
Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
The three-dimensional structure of the N-acyl-l-homoserine lactone hydrolase (AHL lactonase) from Bacillus thuringiensis has been determined, by using single-wavelength anomalous dispersion (SAD) phasing, to 1.6-angstroms resolution. AHLs are produced by many Gram-negative bacteria as signaling molecules used in quorum-sensing pathways that indirectly sense cell density and regulate communal behavior. Because of their importance in pathogenicity, quorum-sensing pathways have been suggested as potential targets for the development of novel therapeutics. Quorum-sensing can be disrupted by enzymes evolved to degrade these lactones, such as AHL lactonases. These enzymes are members of the metallo-beta-lactamase superfamily and contain two zinc ions in their active sites. The zinc ions are coordinated to a number of ligands, including a single oxygen of a bridging carboxylate and a bridging water/hydroxide ion, thought to be the nucleophile that hydrolyzes the AHLs to ring-opened products, which can no longer act as quorum signals.