Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
RNA. 2006 Aug;12(8):1468-74. Epub 2006 Jun 29.

Structure-function analysis of Plasmodium RNA triphosphatase and description of a triphosphate tunnel metalloenzyme superfamily that includes Cet1-like RNA triphosphatases and CYTH proteins.

Author information

  • 1Molecular Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, NY 10021, USA.


RNA triphosphatase catalyzes the first step in mRNA capping. The RNA triphosphatases of fungi and protozoa are structurally and mechanistically unrelated to the analogous mammalian enzyme, a situation that recommends RNA triphosphatase as an anti-infective target. Fungal and protozoan RNA triphosphatases belong to a family of metal-dependent phosphohydrolases exemplified by yeast Cet1. The Cet1 active site is unusually complex and located within a topologically closed hydrophilic beta-barrel (the triphosphate tunnel). Here we probe the active site of Plasmodium falciparum RNA triphosphatase by targeted mutagenesis and thereby identify eight residues essential for catalysis. The functional data engender an improved structural alignment in which the Plasmodium counterparts of the Cet1 tunnel strands and active-site functional groups are located with confidence. We gain insight into the evolution of the Cet1-like triphosphatase family by noting that the heretofore unique tertiary structure and active site of Cet1 are recapitulated in recently deposited structures of proteins from Pyrococcus (PBD 1YEM) and Vibrio (PDB 2ACA). The latter proteins exemplify a CYTH domain found in CyaB-like adenylate cyclases and mammalian thiamine triphosphatase. We conclude that the tunnel fold first described for Cet1 is the prototype of a larger enzyme superfamily that includes the CYTH branch. This superfamily, which we name "triphosphate tunnel metalloenzyme," is distributed widely among bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryal taxa. It is now clear that Cet1-like RNA triphosphatases did not arise de novo in unicellular eukarya in tandem with the emergence of caps as the defining feature of eukaryotic mRNA. They likely evolved by incremental changes in an ancestral tunnel enzyme that conferred specificity for RNA 5'-end processing.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (3)Free text

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk