Structures of the methyltransferase component of Desulfitobacterium hafniense DCB-2 O-demethylase shed light on methyltetrahydrofolate formation.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Hanno Sjuts
  • Mark S Dunstan
  • Karl Fisher
  • David Leys


O-Demethylation by acetogenic or organohalide-respiring bacteria leads to the formation of methyltetrahydrofolate from aromatic methyl ethers. O-Demethylases, which are cobalamin-dependent, three-component enzyme systems, catalyse methyl-group transfers from aromatic methyl ethers to tetrahydrofolate via methylcobalamin intermediates. In this study, crystal structures of the tetrahydrofolate-binding methyltransferase module from a Desulfitobacterium hafniense DCB-2 O-demethylase were determined both in complex with tetrahydrofolate and the product methyltetrahydrofolate. While these structures are similar to previously determined methyltransferase structures, the position of key active-site residues is subtly altered. A strictly conserved Asn is displaced to establish a putative proton-transfer network between the substrate N5 and solvent. It is proposed that this supports the efficient catalysis of methyltetrahydrofolate formation, which is necessary for efficient O-demethylation.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa crystallographica. Section D, Biological crystallography
Issue numberPt 9
StatePublished - Sep 2015