A metallo-beta-lactamase with both beta-lactamase and ribonuclease activity is linked with traduction in giant viruses
Enzymatic proteins with a metallo-beta-lactamase (MBL) fold have been essentially studied in bacteria for their activity on beta-lactam antibiotics. However, the MBL fold is ancient and highly conserved, and these proteins are capable of cleaving a broad range of substrates. It has recently been shown that MBLs are present in a wide array of cellular organisms, including eukaryotes and archaea. We show here that Tupanvirus deep ocean, a giant virus5, also encodes a protein with a MBL fold.
... geny showed its clustering with transfer ribonucleases (RNases) and the presence of orthologs in other giant viruses, mainly those harboring the largest sets of translation components. In addition, it suggests an ancient origin for these genes and a transfer between giant viruses and Acanthamoeba spp., a host of many giant viruses. Biologically, after its expression in Escherichia coli, the tupanvirus protein was found to hydrolyse nitrocefin, a chromogenic beta-lactam. We also observed an hydrolysis of penicillin G (10 μg/mL) and detected the metabolite of penicillin G hydrolysis, benzylpenilloic acid. This was inhibited by sulbactam, a beta-lactamase inhibitor. In addition, we tested the degradation of single-stranded DNA, double-stranded DNA, and RNAs, and observed a strong activity on RNAs from seven bacteria with G+C varying from 42% to 67%, and from Acanthamoeba castellanii, the tupanvirus host. This was not inhibited by sulbactam or ceftriaxone. RNase activity was estimated to be 0.45±0.15 mU/mg using a fluorescence-based assay. Our results still broaden the range of hosts of MBL fold proteins and demonstrate that such protein can have dual beta-lactamase/nuclease activities. We suggest that they should be annotated according to this finding to avoid further confusion.