Detection of a quaternary organization into dimer of trimers of C. ammoniagenes FAD synthetase at the single-molecule level and at the in cell level
Biochemical characterization of Corynebacterium ammoniagenes FADS (CaFADS) pointed to certain confusion about the stoichiometry of this bifunctional enzyme involved in the production of FMN and FAD in prokaryotes. Resolution of its crystal structure suggested that it might produce a hexameric ensemble formed by a dimer of trimers. We used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to direct imaging single CaFADS molecules bound to mica surfaces. AFM allowed solving individual CaFADS monomers, for which it was even possible to distinguish their sub-molecular individual N- and C-terminal modules in the elongated enzyme. Differences between monomers and higher stoichiometries were easily imaged, enabling us to detect formation of oligomeric species induced by ligand binding. The presence of ATP:Mg2+ particularly induced the appearance of the hexameric assembly whose mean molecular volume resembles the crystallographic dimer of trimers. Finally, the AFM results are confirmed in cross-linking solution, and the presence of such oligomeric CaFADS species detected in cell extracts. All these results are consistent with the formation of a dimer of trimers during the enzyme catalytic cycle that might bear biological relevance.