Inhibition of 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase

Cornell University, Graduate Field of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (Impact Factor: 3.02). 03/2007; 458(2):194-201. DOI: 10.1016/
Source: PubMed


The interaction of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate analogs with murine methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase (MTHFS) was investigated using steady-state kinetics, molecular modeling, and site-directed mutagenesis. MTHFS catalyzes the irreversible cyclization of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate to 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate. Folate analogs that cannot undergo the rate-limiting step in catalysis were inhibitors of murine MTHFS. 5-Formyltetrahydrohomofolate was an effective inhibitor of murine MTHFS (K(i)=0.7 microM), whereas 5-formyl,10-methyltetrahydrofolate was a weak inhibitor (K(i)=10 microM). The former, but not the latter, was slowly phosphorylated by MTHFS. 5-Formyltetrahydrohomofolate was not a substrate for murine MTHFS, but was metabolized when the MTHFS active site Y151 was mutated to Ala. MTHFS active site residues do not directly facilitate N10 attack on the on the N5-iminium phosphate intermediate, but rather restrict N10 motion around N5. Inhibitors specifically designed to block N10 attack appear to be less effective than the natural 10-formyltetrahydrofolate polyglutamate inhibitors.

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    ABSTRACT: Tetrahydrofolate (THF) polyglutamates are a family of cofactors that carry and chemically activate one-carbon units for biosynthesis. THF-mediated one-carbon metabolism is a metabolic network of interdependent biosynthetic pathways that is compartmentalized in the cytoplasm, mitochondria, and nucleus. One-carbon metabolism in the cytoplasm is required for the synthesis of purines and thymidylate and the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine. One-carbon metabolism in the mitochondria is required for the synthesis of formylated methionyl-tRNA; the catabolism of choline, purines, and histidine; and the interconversion of serine and glycine. Mitochondria are also the primary source of one-carbon units for cytoplasmic metabolism. Increasing evidence indicates that folate-dependent de novo thymidylate biosynthesis occurs in the nucleus of certain cell types. Disruption of folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism is associated with many pathologies and developmental anomalies, yet the biochemical mechanisms and causal metabolic pathways responsible for the initiation and/or progression of folate-associated pathologies have yet to be established. This chapter focuses on our current understanding of mammalian folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism, its cellular compartmentation, and knowledge gaps that limit our understanding of one-carbon metabolism and its regulation.
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    ABSTRACT: 5,10-Methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase (MTHFS) catalyzes the conversion of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate to 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate coupled to the hydrolysis of ATP. A co-crystal structure of MTHFS bound to its substrates has been published (Chen et al., Proteins 56:839-843, 2005) that provides insights into the mechanism of this reaction. To further investigate this mechanism, we have replaced the arginine at position 115 and the lysine at position 120 with alanine (R115A and K120A, respectively). Circular dichroism spectra for both mutants are consistent with folded proteins. R115A shows no activity, suggesting that R115 plays a critical role in the activity of the enzyme. The K120A mutation increases the Michaelis constant (K(m)) for ATP from 76 to 1,200 microM and the K(m) for 5-formylTHF from 2.5 to 7.1 microM. The weaker binding of substrates by K120A may be due to movement of a loop consisting of residues 117 though 120, which makes several hydrogen bonds to ATP and may be held in position by K120.
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