Crystal structure of bovine lipoyltransferase in complex with lipoyl-AMP

J Mol Biol. 2007 Aug 3;371(1):222-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2007.05.059. Epub 2007 May 26.


Lipoic acid is an essential cofactor of the alpha-ketoacid dehydrogenase complexes and the glycine cleavage system. It is covalently attached to a specific lysine residue of the subunit of the complexes. The bovine lipoyltransferase (bLT) catalyzes the lipoic acid attachment reaction using lipoyl-AMP as a substrate, forming a lipoylated protein and AMP. To gain insights into the reaction mechanism at the atomic level, we have determined the crystal structure of bLT at 2.10 A resolution. Unexpectedly, the purified recombinant bLT contains endogenous lipoyl-AMP. The structure of bLT consists of N-terminal and C-terminal domains, and lipoyl-AMP is bound to the active site in the N-terminal domain, adopting a U-shaped conformation. The lipoyl moiety is buried in the hydrophobic pocket, forming van der Waals interactions, and the AMP moiety forms numerous hydrogen bonds with bLT in another tunnel-like cavity. These interactions work together to expose the C10 atom of lipoyl-AMP to the surface of the bLT molecule. The carbonyl oxygen atom of lipoyl-AMP interacts with the invariant Lys135. The interaction might stimulate the positive charge of the C10 atom of lipoyl-AMP, and consequently facilitate the nucleophilic attack by the lysine residue of the lipoate-acceptor protein, accompanying the bond cleavage between the carbonyl group and the phosphate group. We discuss the structural differences between bLT and the lipoate-protein ligase A from Escherichia coli and Thermoplasma acidophilum. We further demonstrate that bLT in mitochondria also contains endogenous lipoylmononucleotide, being ready for the lipoylation of apoproteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / chemistry*
  • Acyltransferases / genetics
  • Acyltransferases / metabolism
  • Adenosine Monophosphate / chemistry*
  • Adenosine Monophosphate / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary*
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Thermoplasma / enzymology


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Acyltransferases

Associated data

  • PDB/2E5A