Redox regulation and reaction mechanism of human cystathionine-beta-synthase: a PLP-dependent hemesensor protein

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2005 Jan 1;433(1):144-56. doi: 10.1016/


Cystathionine beta-synthase in mammals lies at a pivotal crossroad in methionine metabolism directing flux toward cysteine synthesis and catabolism. The enzyme exhibits a modular organization and complex regulation. It catalyzes the beta-replacement of the hydroxyl group of serine with the thiolate of homocysteine and is unique in being the only known pyridoxal phosphate-dependent enzyme that also contains heme b as a cofactor. The heme functions as a sensor and modulates enzyme activity in response to redox change and to CO binding. Mutations in this enzyme are the single most common cause of hereditary hyperhomocysteinemia. Elucidation of the crystal structure of a truncated and highly active form of the human enzyme containing the heme- and pyridoxal phosphate binding domains has afforded a structural perspective on mechanistic and mutation analysis studies. The C-terminal regulatory domain containing two CBS motifs exerts intrasteric regulation and binds the allosteric activator, S-adenosylmethionine. Studies with mammalian cells in culture as well as with animal models have unraveled multiple layers of regulation of cystathionine beta-synthase in response to redox perturbations and reveal the important role of this enzyme in glutathione-dependent redox homestasis. This review discusses the recent advances in our understanding of the structure, mechanism, and regulation of cystathionine beta-synthase from the perspective of its physiological function, focusing on the clinically relevant human enzyme.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Alanine / metabolism
  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cystathionine beta-Synthase / chemistry*
  • Cystathionine beta-Synthase / genetics
  • Cystathionine beta-Synthase / metabolism
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Heme / chemistry
  • Hemeproteins / chemistry*
  • Hemeproteins / genetics
  • Hemeproteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Models, Structural
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Structure
  • Molecular Weight
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate / chemistry
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Threonine / metabolism


  • Hemeproteins
  • Threonine
  • Heme
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate
  • Cystathionine beta-Synthase
  • Alanine