Pyruvoyl dependent arginine decarboxylases from Chlamydiae and Crenarchaea
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Arginine decarboxylase is a key enzyme involved in the polyamine pathway of organisms. Pyruvoyl-dependent arginine decarboxylases are expressed in the form of proenzymes that self-cleave to form N-terminal [beta] and C-terminal [alpha] subunits generating an active pyruvoyl group at the [alpha] terminus. We have identified an archaeal homolog of a pyruvoyl-dependent arginine decarboxylase in Chlamydophila pneumoniae that could play a role in the persistence of the organism in the host. The recombinant enzyme showed highest activity at pH 3.4, which is the lowest optimum pH ever reported for a pyruvoyl dependent arginine decarboxylase. The proton-consuming decarboxylation raises intracellular pH, and thereby plays a role in acid-resistance. It could inhibit the pro-inflammatory nitric oxide synthase resulting in asymptomatic infection. A variant protein Thr⁵²Ser at the predicted cleavage site showed less pro-enzyme cleavage and activity compared to the wild-type. The homologs of arginine decarboxylase and flanking arginine-agmatine antiporter were also found in different biovariants of Chlamydia trachomatis. In the invasive L2 strain of C. trachomatis, the presence of a nonsense codon in the gene encoding arginine decarboxylase enzyme prevented the expression of an active enzyme. The variant protein with tryptophan replacing nonsense codon restored arginine decarboxylase activity. The non-invasive D strain of C. trachomatis had an intact arginine decarboxylase gene, but it was recombinantly expressed as a proenzyme that was uncleaved. The arginine-agmatine antiporters from both the strains were active and transported tritiated arginine into their cells. The polyamine pathway of the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus uses arginine to make putrescine, but the organism lacks homologs of arginine decarboxylase. However, it has two paralogs of pyruvoyl dependent S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase − SSO0536 and SSO0585. These enzymes were recombinantly expressed as pro-enzymes that self-cleaved into [beta] and [alpha] subunits. Even with a 47% amino acid sequence identity, the SSO0536 protein exhibited significant arginine decarboxylase activity whereas SSO0585 protein had significant S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase activity. This is the first report of an S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase enzyme showing alternative decarboxylase activity. The chimeric protein with the [alpha]-subunit of SSO0585 and [beta]-subunit of SSO0536 had arginine decarboxylase activity, suggesting that the residues responsible for substrate recognition are located in the amino terminus.