Enzymes orchestrating methylation between tetrahydrofolate (THF) and cobalamin (Cbl) are abundant among all domains of life. During energy production in Desulfitobacterium hafniense, MtgA catalyzes the methyl transfer from methylcobalamin (Cbl-CH3 ) to THF in the catabolism of glycine betaine (GB). Despite its lack of sequence identity with known structures, we could show that MtgA forms a homodimeric complex of two TIM barrels. Atomic crystallographic insights into the interplay of MtgA with THF as well as analysis of a trapped reaction intermediate (THF-CH3 )+ reveal conformational rearrangements during the transfer reaction. Whereas residues for THF methylation are conserved, the binding mode for the THF glutamyl-p-aminobenzoate moiety (THF tail) is unique. Apart from snapshots of individual reaction steps of MtgA, structure-based mutagenesis combined with enzymatic activity assays allowed a mechanistic description of the methyl transfer between Cbl-CH3 and THF. Altogether, the THF-tail-binding motion observed in MtgA is unique compared to other THF methyltransferases and therefore contributes to the general understanding of THF-mediated methyl transfer.
Keywords: anaerobic bacteria; cobalamin; glycine betaine metabolism; methyl transfer; tetrahydrofolate.
© 2019 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.