Image_1_Unique Features and Anti-microbial Targeting of Folate- and Flavin-Dependent Methyltransferases Required for Accurate Maintenance of Genetic Information.PDF (76.77 kB)
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Image_1_Unique Features and Anti-microbial Targeting of Folate- and Flavin-Dependent Methyltransferases Required for Accurate Maintenance of Genetic Information.PDF

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posted on 09.05.2018, 04:12 authored by Hannu Myllykallio, Pierre Sournia, Alice Heliou, Ursula Liebl

Comparative genome analyses have led to the discovery and characterization of novel flavin- and folate-dependent methyltransferases that mainly function in DNA precursor synthesis and post-transcriptional RNA modification by forming (ribo) thymidylate and its derivatives. Here we discuss the recent literature on the novel mechanistic features of these enzymes sometimes referred to as “uracil methyltransferases,” albeit we prefer to refer to them as (ribo) thymidylate synthases. These enzyme families attest to the convergent evolution of nucleic acid methylation. Special focus is given to describing the unique characteristics of these flavin- and folate-dependent enzymes that have emerged as new models for studying the non-canonical roles of reduced flavin co-factors (FADH2) in relaying carbon atoms between enzyme substrates. This ancient enzymatic methylation mechanism with a very wide phylogenetic distribution may be more commonly used for biological methylation reactions than previously anticipated. This notion is exemplified by the recent discovery of additional substrates for these enzymes. Moreover, similar reaction mechanisms can be reversed by demethylases, which remove methyl groups e.g., from human histones. Future work is now required to address whether the use of different methyl donors facilitates the regulation of distinct methylation reactions in the cell. It will also be of great interest to address whether the low activity flavin-dependent thymidylate synthases ThyX represent ancestral enzymes that were eventually replaced by the more active thymidylate synthases of the ThyA family to facilitate the maintenance of larger genomes in fast-growing microbes. Moreover, we discuss the recent efforts from several laboratories to identify selective anti-microbial compounds that target flavin-dependent thymidylate synthase ThyX. Altogether we underline how the discovery of the alternative flavoproteins required for methylation of DNA and/or RNA nucleotides, in addition to providing novel targets for antibiotics, has provided new insight into microbial physiology and virulence.

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