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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2006 Apr;44(4):236-41. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Characterization of an O-methyltransferase from soybean.

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Bio/Molecular Informatics Center, Division of Bioscience and Biotechnology, KonKuk University, Seoul 143-701, Korea.


O-methyltransferases (OMTs) catalyze the transfer of a methyl group from S-adenosine-L-methionine to a hydroxyl group of an acceptor molecule to form methyl ether derivatives and can modify the basic backbone of a secondary metabolite. A new O-methyltransferase, SOMT-9, was cloned from Glycine max and found to encode a protein whose molecular weight is 27-kDa. SOMT-9 was expressed as a GST-fusion protein in Escherichia coli and several compounds such as caffeic acid, esculetin, narigenin, kaempferol, quercetin, and luteolin were tested as putative substrates of SOMT-9. HPLC and NMR results showed that SOMT-9 transfers a methyl group to the 3'-OH group of substrates having ortho-hydroxyl groups. SOMT-9 showed the highest affinity for quercetin, suggesting that SOMT-9 uses a flavonoid as a substrate. Based on its molecular weight and substrate specificity, SOMT-9 belongs to a new class of OMT and is likely to be involved in the biosynthesis of isorhamnetin.

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