National Center for
2YCK: Methyltransferase Bound With Tetrahydrofolate
Structural basis for electron and methyl-group transfer in a methyltransferase system operating in the reductive acetyl-CoA pathway
J. Mol. Biol. (2011) 411 p.96-109
Several anaerobic acetogenic, methanogenic, hydrogenogenic, and sulfate-reducing microorganisms are able to use the reductive acetyl-CoA (Wood-Ljungdahl) pathway to convert CO(2) into biomass. The reductive acetyl-CoA pathway consists of two branches connected by the Co/Fe-containing corrinoid iron-sulfur protein (CoFeSP), which transfers a methyl group from a methyltransferase (MeTr)/methyltetrahydrofolate (CH(3)-H(4) folate) complex to the reduced Ni-Ni-[4Fe-4S] cluster (cluster A) of acetyl-CoA synthase. We investigated the CoFeSP and MeTr couple of the hydrogenogenic bacterium Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans and show that the two proteins are able to catalyze the methyl-group transfer reaction from CH(3)-H(4) folate to the Co(I) center of CoFeSP. We determined the crystal structures of both proteins. The structure of CoFeSP includes the previously unresolved N-terminal domain of the large subunit of CoFeSP, revealing a unique four-helix-bundle-like architecture in which a [4Fe-4S] cluster is shielded by hydrophobic amino acids. It further reveals that the corrinoid and the [4Fe-4S] cluster binding domains are mobile, which is mandatory for the postulated electron transfer between them. Furthermore, we solved the crystal structures of apo-MeTr, CH(3)-H(4)-folate-bound MeTr, and H(4)-folate-bound MeTr, revealing a substrate-induced closure of the CH(3)-H(4) folate binding cavity of MeTr. We observed three different conformations of Asn200 depending on the substrate bound in the active site, demonstrating its conformational modulation by hydrogen-bonding interactions with the substrate. The observed flexibility could be essential to stabilize the transition state during methyl-group transfer. The conformational space and role of Asn200 are likely conserved in homologous cobalamin-dependent MeTrs such as methionine synthase.