Location of the pteroylpolyglutamate-binding site on rabbit cytosolic serine hydroxymethyltransferase

Tzu Fun Fu, J. Neel Scarsdale, Galina Kazanina, Verne Schirch, H. Tonie Wright

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT; EC catalyzes the reversible interconversion of serine and glycine with transfer of the serine side chain one-carbon group to tetrahydropteroylglutamate (H4PteGlu), and also the conversion of 5,10-methenyl-H4PteGlu to 5-formyl-H4PteGlu. In the cell, H4PteGlu carries a poly-γ-glutamyl tail of at least 3 glutamyl residues that is required for physiological activity. This study combines solution binding and mutagenesis studies with crystallographic structure determination to identify the extended binding site for tetrahydropteroylpolyglutamate on rabbit cytosolic SHMT. Equilibrium binding and kinetic measurements of H4PteGlu3 and H4PteGlu5 with wild-type and Lys → Gln or Glu site mutant homotetrameric rabbit cytosolic SHMTs identified lysine residues that contribute to the binding of the polyglutamate tail. The crystal structure of the enzyme in complex with 5-formyl-H4PteGlu3 confirms the solution data and indicates that the conformation of the pteridine ring and its interactions with the enzyme differ slightly from those observed in complexes of the monoglutamate cofactor. The polyglutamate chain, which does not contribute to catalysis, exists in multiple conformations in each of the two occupied binding sites and appears to be bound by the electrostatic field created by the cationic residues, with only limited interactions with specific individual residues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2645-2653
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jan 24

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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