National Center for
1MLV: Structure and Catalytic Mechanism of a SET Domain Protein Methyltransferase
Cell (2002) 111 p.91-103
Protein lysine methylation by SET domain enzymes regulates chromatin structure, gene silencing, transcriptional activation, plant metabolism, and other processes. The 2.6 A resolution structure of Rubisco large subunit methyltransferase in a pseudo-bisubstrate complex with S-adenosylhomocysteine and a HEPES ion reveals an all-beta architecture for the SET domain embedded within a larger alpha-helical enzyme fold. Conserved regions of the SET domain bind S-adenosylmethionine and substrate lysine at two sites connected by a pore. We propose that methyl transfer is catalyzed by a conserved Tyr at a narrow pore connecting the sites. The cofactor enters by a "back door" on the opposite side of the enzyme from substrate, promoting highly specific protein recognition and allowing addition of multiple methyl groups.