Send to

Choose Destination
J Struct Biol. 2011 Jan;173(1):86-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2010.06.006. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Mechanism of substrate specificity in 5'-methylthioadenosine/S-adenosylhomocysteine nucleosidases.

Author information

Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


5'-Methylthioadenosine/S-adenosylhomocysteine (MTA/SAH) nucleosidase (MTAN) plays a key role in the methionine-recycling pathway of bacteria and plants. Despite extensive structural and biochemical studies, the molecular mechanism of substrate specificity for MTAN remains an outstanding question. Bacterial MTANs show comparable efficiency in hydrolyzing MTA and SAH, while the plant enzymes select preferentially for MTA, with either no or significantly reduced activity towards SAH. Bacterial and plant MTANs show significant conservation in the overall structure, and the adenine- and ribose-binding sites. The observation of a more constricted 5'-alkylthio binding site in Arabidopsis thalianaAtMTAN1 and AtMTAN2, two plant MTAN homologues, led to the hypothesis that steric hindrance may play a role in substrate selection in plant MTANs. We show using isothermal titration calorimetry that SAH binds to both Escherichia coli MTAN (EcMTAN) and AtMTAN1 with comparable micromolar affinity. To understand why AtMTAN1 can bind but not hydrolyze SAH, we determined the structure of the protein-SAH complex at 2.2Å resolution. The lack of catalytic activity appears to be related to the enzyme's inability to bind the substrate in a catalytically competent manner. The role of dynamics in substrate selection was also examined by probing the amide proton exchange rates of EcMTAN and AtMTAN1 via deuterium-hydrogen exchange coupled mass spectrometry. These results correlate with the B factors of available structures and the thermodynamic parameters associated with substrate binding, and suggest a higher level of conformational flexibility in the active site of EcMTAN. Our results implicate dynamics as an important factor in substrate selection in MTAN.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center