Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) cleavage, yielding dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and acrylate, provides vital carbon sources to marine bacteria, is a key component of the global sulfur cycle and effects atmospheric chemistry and potentially climate. Acrylate and its metabolite acryloyl-CoA are toxic if allowed to accumulate within cells. Thus, organisms cleaving DMSP require effective systems for both the utilization and detoxification of acrylate. Here, we examine the mechanism of acrylate utilization and detoxification in Roseobacters. We propose propionate-CoA ligase (PrpE) and acryloyl-CoA reductase (AcuI) as the key enzymes involved and through structural and mutagenesis analyses, provide explanations of their catalytic mechanisms. In most cases, DMSP lyases and DMSP demethylases (DmdAs) have low substrate affinities, but AcuIs have very high substrate affinities, suggesting that an effective detoxification system for acylate catabolism exists in DMSP-catabolizing Roseobacters. This study provides insight on acrylate metabolism and detoxification and a possible explanation for the high Km values that have been noted for some DMSP lyases. Since acrylate/acryloyl-CoA is probably produced by other metabolism, and AcuI and PrpE are conserved in many organisms across all domains of life, the detoxification system is likely relevant to many metabolic processes and environments beyond DMSP catabolism.
- marine microbiology
- structural biology