Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 34354070
Link to HAL – Click here
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41467-021-25064-x
Nat Commun 2021 08; 12(1): 4710
Cyanophage S-2L is known to profoundly alter the biophysical properties of its DNA by replacing all adenines (A) with 2-aminoadenines (Z), which still pair with thymines but with a triple hydrogen bond. It was recently demonstrated that a homologue of adenylosuccinate synthetase (PurZ) and a dATP triphosphohydrolase (DatZ) are two important pieces of the metabolism of 2-aminoadenine, participating in the synthesis of ZTGC-DNA. Here, we determine that S-2L PurZ can use either dATP or ATP as a source of energy, thereby also depleting the pool of nucleotides in dATP. Furthermore, we identify a conserved gene (mazZ) located between purZ and datZ genes in S-2L and related phage genomes. We show that it encodes a (d)GTP-specific diphosphohydrolase, thereby providing the substrate of PurZ in the 2-aminoadenine synthesis pathway. High-resolution crystal structures of S-2L PurZ and MazZ with their respective substrates provide a rationale for their specificities. The Z-cluster made of these three genes – datZ, mazZ and purZ – was expressed in E. coli, resulting in a successful incorporation of 2-aminoadenine in the bacterial chromosomal and plasmidic DNA. This work opens the possibility to study synthetic organisms containing ZTGC-DNA.