Glycerophosphoinositol (GPI) is a compatible solute present in a few hyperthermophiles. Interestingly, different GPI stereoisomers accumulate in Bacteria and Archaea, and the basis for this domain-dependent specificity was investigated herein. The archaeon Archaeoglobus fulgidus and the bacterium Aquifex aeolicus were used as model organisms. The synthesis of GPI involves glycerol phosphate cytidylyltransferase (GCT), which catalyzes the production of CDP-glycerol from CTP and glycerol phosphate, and di-myo-inositol phosphate-phosphate synthase (DIPPS), catalyzing the formation of phosphorylated GPI from CDP-glycerol and L-myo-inositol 1-phosphate. DIPPS of A. fulgidus recognized the two CDP-glycerol stereoisomers similarly. This feature and the ability of 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to distinguish the GPI diastereomers provided a means to study the stereospecificity of GCTs. The AF1418 gene and genes aq_185 and aq_1368 are annotated as putative GCT genes in the genomes of A. fulgidus and Aq. aeolicus, respectively. The functions of these genes were determined by assaying the activity of the respective recombinant proteins: AQ1368 and AQ185 are GCTs, while AF1418 has flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) synthetase activity. AQ185 is absolutely specific for sn-glycerol 3-phosphate, while AQ1368 recognizes the two enantiomers but has a 2:1 preference for sn-glycerol 3-phosphate. In contrast, the partially purified A. fulgidus GCT uses sn-glycerol 1-phosphate preferentially (4:1). Significantly, the predominant GPI stereoforms found in the bacterium and the archaeon reflect the distinct stereospecificities of the respective GCTs: i.e., A. fulgidus accumulates predominantly sn-glycero- 1-phospho-3-L-myo-inositol, while Aq. aeolicus accumulates sn-glycero-3-phospho-3-lmyo- inositol.
- Glycerol phosphate cytidylyltransferase
- Molecular configuration