Serine hydroxymethyltransferase: a model enzyme for mechanistic, structural, and evolutionary studies

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Nov;1814(11):1489-96. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2010.10.010. Epub 2010 Nov 5.


Serine hydroxymethyltransferase is a ubiquitous representative of the family of fold type I, pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-dependent enzymes. The reaction catalyzed by this enzyme, the reversible transfer of the Cβ of serine to tetrahydropteroylglutamate, represents a link between amino acid and folates metabolism and operates as a major source of one-carbon units for several essential biosynthetic processes. Serine hydroxymethyltransferase has been intensively investigated because of the interest aroused by the complex mechanism of the hydroxymethyltransferase reaction and its broad substrate and reaction specificity. Although the increasing availability of crystallographic data and the characterization of several site-specific mutants helped in understanding previous functional and structural studies, they also represent the starting point of novel investigations. This review will focus on recently highlighted catalytic, structural, and evolutionary aspects of serine hydroxymethyltransferase. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Pyridoxal phosphate Enzymology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biocatalysis
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Evolution, Chemical*
  • Glycine Hydroxymethyltransferase / chemistry
  • Glycine Hydroxymethyltransferase / genetics
  • Glycine Hydroxymethyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation


  • Glycine Hydroxymethyltransferase