Crystal structure of vestitone reductase from alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)

J Mol Biol. 2007 May 25;369(1):265-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2007.03.040. Epub 2007 Mar 21.


Isoflavonoids are commonly found in leguminous plants, where they play important roles in plant defense and have significant health benefits for animals and humans. Vestitone reductase catalyzes a stereospecific NADPH-dependent reduction of (3R)-vestitone in the biosynthesis of the antimicrobial isoflavonoid phytoalexin medicarpin. The crystal structure of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) vestitone reductase has been determined at 1.4 A resolution. The structure contains a classic Rossmann fold domain in the N terminus and a small C-terminal domain. Sequence and structural analysis showed that vestitone reductase is a member of the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) superfamily despite the low levels of sequence identity, and the prominent structural differences from other SDR enzymes with known structures. The putative binding sites for the co-factor NADPH and the substrate (3R)-vestitone were defined and located in a large cleft formed between the N and C-terminal domains of enzyme. Potential key residues for enzyme activity were also identified, including the catalytic triad Ser129-Tyr164-Lys168. A molecular docking study showed that (3R)-vestitone, but not the (3S) isomer, forms favored interactions with the co-factor and catalytic triad, thus providing an explanation for the enzyme's strict substrate stereo-specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Catalysis
  • Coenzymes / metabolism
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Isoflavones / chemistry
  • Isoflavones / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Medicago sativa / enzymology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NADP
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors / chemistry*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Coenzymes
  • Isoflavones
  • Ligands
  • sophorol
  • NADP
  • vestitone reductase
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors

Associated data

  • PDB/2P4H