Methionine in proteins: The Cinderella of the proteinogenic amino acids

Protein Sci. 2019 Oct;28(10):1785-1796. doi: 10.1002/pro.3698. Epub 2019 Aug 9.


Methionine in proteins, apart from its role in the initiation of translation, is assumed to play a simple structural role in the hydrophobic core, in a similar way to other hydrophobic amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine. However, research from a number of laboratories supports the concept that methionine serves as an important cellular antioxidant, stabilizes the structure of proteins, participates in the sequence-independent recognition of protein surfaces, and can act as a regulatory switch through reversible oxidation and reduction. Despite all these evidences, the role of methionine in protein structure and function is largely overlooked by most biochemists. Thus, the main aim of the current article is not so much to carry out an exhaustive review of the many and diverse processes in which methionine residues are involved, but to review some illustrative examples that may help the nonspecialized reader to form a richer and more precise insight regarding the role-played by methionine residues in such processes.

Keywords: MetOSite; methionine sulfoxide; posttranslational modification; protein oxidation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Methionine / chemistry
  • Methionine / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Proteins
  • Methionine