Probing the Substrate Promiscuity of Isopentenyl Phosphate Kinase as a Platform for Hemiterpene Analogue Production

Isoprenoids are a large class of natural products with wide-ranging applications. Synthetic biology approaches to the manufacture of isoprenoids and their new-to-nature derivatives are limited due to the provision in Nature of just two hemiterpene building blocks for isoprenoid biosynthesis. To address this limitation, artificial chemo-enzymatic pathways such as the alcohol-dependent hemiterpene pathway (ADH) serve to leverage consecutive kinases to convert exogenous alcohols to pyrophosphates that could be coupled to downstream isoprenoid biosynthesis. To be successful, each kinase in this pathway should be permissive of a broad range of substrates. For the first time, we have probed the promiscuity of the second enzyme in the ADH pathway, isopentenyl phosphate kinase from Thermoplasma acidophilum, towards a broad range of acceptor monophosphates. Subsequently, we evaluate the suitability of this enzyme to provide non-natural pyrophosphates and provide a critical first step in characterizing the rate limiting steps in the artificial ADH pathway.<br>