Partial purification, kinetic analysis, and amino acid sequence information of a flavonol 3-O-methyltransferase from Serratula tinctoria

Plant Physiol. 2004 Apr;134(4):1366-76. doi: 10.1104/pp.103.036442.


Serratula tinctoria (Asteraceae) accumulates mainly 3,3'-dimethylquercetin and small amounts of 3-methylquercetin as an intermediate. The fact that 3-methylquercetin rarely accumulates in plants in significant amounts, and given its important role as an antiviral and antiinflammatory agent that accumulates in response to stress conditions, prompted us to purify and characterize the enzyme involved in its methylation. The flavonol 3-O-methyltransferase (3-OMT) was partially purified by ammonium sulfate precipitation and successive chromatography on Superose-12, Mono-Q, and adenosine-agarose affinity columns, resulting in a 194-fold increase of its specific activity. The enzyme protein exhibited an expressed specificity for the methylation of position 3 of the flavonol, quercetin, although it also utilized kaempferol, myricetin, and some monomethyl flavonols as substrates. It exhibited a pH optimum of 7.6, a pI of 6.0, and an apparent molecular mass of 31 kD. Its K(m) values for quercetin as the substrate and S-adenosyl-l-Met (AdoMet) as the cosubstrate were 12 and 45 microm, respectively. The 3-OMT had no requirement for Mg(2+), but was severely inhibited by p-chloromercuribenzoate, suggesting the requirement for SH groups for catalytic activity. Quercetin methylation was competitively inhibited by S-adenosyl-l-homo-Cys with respect to the cosubstrate AdoMet, and followed a sequential bi-bi reaction mechanism, where AdoMet was the first to bind and S-adenosyl-l-homo-Cys was released last. In-gel trypsin digestion of the purified protein yielded several peptides, two of which exhibited strong amino acid sequence homology, upon protein identification, to a number of previously identified Group II plant OMTs. The availability of peptide sequences will allow the design of specific nucleotide probes for future cloning of the gene encoding this novel enzyme for its use in metabolic engineering.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Asteraceae / enzymology*
  • Asteraceae / genetics
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / metabolism*
  • Flavonols / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Isoelectric Point
  • Kinetics
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Methyltransferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Methyltransferases / genetics*
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Leaves / enzymology
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Quercetin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Quercetin / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity / physiology


  • Flavonoids
  • Flavonols
  • Plant Proteins
  • 3-methylquercetin
  • 3,3'-di-O-methylquercetin
  • Quercetin
  • Methyltransferases
  • quercetin O-3-methyltransferase