Biocatalytic Ether Lipid Synthesis by an Archaeal Glycerolprenylase

14 February 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Although ethers are common in secondary natural products, they are an underrepresented functional group in primary metabolism. As such, there are comparably few enzymes capable of constructing ether bonds in a general fashion. However, such enzymes are highly sought after for synthetic applications as they typically operate with higher regioselectivity and under milder conditions than traditional organochemical approaches. To expand the repertoire of well characterized ether synthases, we herein report on a promiscuous archaeal prenyltransferase from the scarcely researched family of geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate synthases (GGGPSs or G3PSs). We show that the ultrastable Archaeoglobus fulgidus G3PS makes various (E)- and (Z)-configured prenyl glycerol ethers from the corresponding pyrophosphates, while exerting perfect control over the configuration at the glycerol unit. Based on experimental and computational data, we propose a mechanism for this enzyme which involves an intermediary prenyl carbocation equivalent. As such, this study provides the fundamental understanding and methods to introduce G3PSs into the biocatalytic alkylation toolbox.



Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information
Supplementary information containing author contributions, data availability and accessibility statements, additional summary and discussion of relevant literature, experimental details, additional biochemical data, synthetic procedures and analytical data, crystallographic data, and computational details.

Supplementary weblinks


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.