A New Class of Phosphoribosyltransferases Involved in Cobamide Biosynthesis Is Found in Methanogenic Archaea and Cyanobacteria

Biochemistry. 2019 Feb 19;58(7):951-964. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b01253. Epub 2019 Jan 31.


Cobamides are coenzymes used by cells from all domains of life but made de novo by only some bacteria and archaea. The last steps of the cobamide biosynthetic pathway activate the corrin ring and the lower ligand base, condense the activated intermediates, and dephosphorylate the product prior to the release of the biologically active coenzyme. In bacteria, a phosphoribosyltransferase (PRTase) enyzme activates the base into its α-mononucleotide. The enzyme from Salmonella enterica ( SeCobT) has been extensively biochemically and structurally characterized. The crystal structure of the putative PRTase from the archaeum Methanocaldococcus jannaschii ( MjCobT) is known, but its function has not been validated. Here we report the in vivo and in vitro characterization of MjCobT. In vivo, in vitro, and phylogenetic data reported here show that MjCobT belongs to a new class of NaMN-dependent PRTases. We also show that the Synechococcus sp. WH7803 CobT protein has PRTase activity in vivo. Lastly, results of isothermal titration calorimetry and analytical ultracentrifugation analysis show that the biologically active form of MjCobT is a dimer, not a trimer, as suggested by its crystal structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / metabolism
  • Archaeal Proteins / chemistry
  • Archaeal Proteins / genetics
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cobamides / biosynthesis*
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Methanococcus / enzymology
  • Methanococcus / genetics
  • Multienzyme Complexes / chemistry
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / chemistry
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pentosyltransferases / chemistry
  • Pentosyltransferases / genetics
  • Pentosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Phosphates / chemistry
  • Phosphates / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Potassium Compounds / chemistry
  • Potassium Compounds / metabolism
  • Salmonella enterica / genetics
  • Salmonella enterica / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cobamides
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Phosphates
  • Potassium Compounds
  • potassium phosphate
  • Pentosyltransferases
  • nicotinate-nucleotide-dimethylbenzimidazole phosphoribosyltransferase
  • Nucleotidyltransferases