In the maturation of the Escherichia coli antibiotic Microcin B17, the product of the mcbA gene is modified posttranslationally by the multimeric Microcin synthetase complex (composed of McbB, C, and D) to cyclize four Cys and four Ser residues to four thiazoles and four oxazoles, respectively. The purified synthetase shows an absolute requirement for ATP or GTP in peptide substrate heterocyclization, with GTP one-third as effective as ATP in initial rate studies. The ATPase/GTPase activity of the synthetase complex is conditional in that ADP or GDP formation requires the presence of substrate; noncyclizable versions of McbA bind to synthetase, but do not induce the NTPase activity. The stoichiometry of ATP hydrolysis and heterocycle formation is 5:1 for a substrate that contains two potential sites of modification. However, at high substrate concentrations (>50K(m)) heterocycle formation is inhibited, while ATPase activity occurs undiminished, consistent with uncoupling of NTP hydrolysis and heterocycle formation at high substrate concentrations. Sequence homology reveals that the McbD subunit has motifs reminiscent of the Walker B box in ATP utilizing enzymes and of motifs found in small G protein GTPases. Mutagenesis of three aspartates to alanine in these motifs (D132, D147, and D199) reduced Microcin B17 production in vivo and heterocycle formation in vitro, suggesting that the 45 kDa McbD has a regulated ATPase/GTPase domain in its N-terminal region necessary for peptide heterocyclization.
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