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Crystal complexes of a predicted S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methyltransferase reveal a typical AdoMet binding domain and a substrate recognition domain

By Darcie J. Miller, Nancy Ouellette, Elena Evdokimova, Alexei Savchenko, Aled Edwards and Wayne F. Anderson


S-adenosyl-L-methionine-dependent methyltransferases (MTs) are abundant, and highly conserved across phylogeny. These enzymes use the cofactor AdoMet to methylate a wide variety of molecular targets, thereby modulating important cellular and metabolic activities. Thermotoga maritima protein 0872 (TM0872) belongs to a large sequence family of predicted MTs, ranging phylogenetically from relatively simple bacteria to humans. The genes for many of the bacterial homologs are located within operons involved in cell wall synthesis and cell division. Despite preliminary biochemical studies in E. coli and B. subtilis, the substrate specificity of this group of more than 150 proteins is unknown. As part of the Midwest Center for Structural Genomics initiative (, we have determined the structure of TM0872 in complexes with AdoMet and with S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine (AdoHcy). As predicted, TM0872 has a typical MT domain, and binds endogenous AdoMet, or co-crystallized AdoHcy, in a manner consistent with other known MT structures. In addition, TM0872 has a second domain that is novel among MTs in both its location in the sequence and its structure. The second domain likely acts in substrate recognition and binding, and there is a potential substrate-binding cleft spanning the two domains. This long and narrow cleft is lined with positively charged residues which are located opposite the S+-CH3 bond, suggesting that a negatively charged molecule might be targeted for catalysis. However, AdoMet and AdoHcy are both buried, and access to the methyl group would presumably require structural rearrangement. These TM0872 crystal structures offer the first structural glimpses at this phylogenetically conserved sequence family

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Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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