The final step in the creation of the Magic: PsiM paper in Nature Communications!

Here you can find our latest papers of psilocybe enzyme structures and biochemical characterization

Methyl transfer in psilocybin biosynthesis

Nature Communications volume 15, Article number: 2709 (2024) Cite this article


Psilocybin, the natural hallucinogen produced by Psilocybe (“magic”) mushrooms, holds great promise for the treatment of depression and several other mental health conditions. The final step in the psilocybin biosynthetic pathway, dimethylation of the tryptophan-derived intermediate norbaeocystin, is catalysed by PsiM. Here we present atomic resolution (0.9 Å) crystal structures of PsiM trapped at various stages of its reaction cycle, providing detailed insight into the SAM-dependent methylation mechanism. Structural and phylogenetic analyses suggest that PsiM derives from epitranscriptomic N6-methyladenosine writers of the METTL16 family, which is further supported by the observation that bound substrates physicochemically mimic RNA. Inherent limitations of the ancestral monomethyltransferase scaffold hamper the efficiency of psilocybin assembly and leave PsiM incapable of catalysing trimethylation to aeruginascin. The results of our study will support bioengineering efforts aiming to create novel variants of psilocybin with improved therapeutic properties.

Characterization of the Gateway Decarboxylase for Psilocybin Biosynthesis

Tim Schäfer, Kristina Kramer, Dr. Sebastiaan Werten, Dr. Bernhard Rupp, Prof. Dr. Dirk Hoffmeister

First published: 03 November 2022

How the magic begins: The l-tryptophan decarboxylase PsiD initiates the biosynthesis of the psychotropic natural product psilocybin in Psilocybe mushrooms. Its in vitro biochemical characterization and in silico modeling of its structure identified a non-canonical serine protease triad for autocatalytic cleavage of the proenzyme. PsiD’s substrate flexibility makes it a versatile catalyst for biotechnological applications.