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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mapping the active site of the Haemophilus influenzae methionyl-tRNA formyltransferase: residues important for catalysis and tRNA binding.

Formylation of the initiator methionyl-tRNA by methionyl-tRNA formyltransferase ( MTF) is an essential step in initiation of protein synthesis in eubacteria. Here, site-directed mutagenesis was used to identify active site residues of the Haemophilus influenzae MTF. Of the nine residues investigated, only Arg-41, Asn-107, His-109 and Asp-145 were important for the function of the H. influenzae MTF. Replacement of these residues with Ala resulted in a significant reduction in the efficiency of catalysis. Intrinsic fluorescence analysis indicated that this was not due to a defect in N10-formyltetrahydrofolate (fTHF) binding. The Asp-145 and Arg-41 mutations reduced the affinity of the enzyme for the initiator tRNA, whereas the Asn-107 and His-109 mutations affected catalysis but not tRNA binding. Replacement of Arg-41, His-109 and Asp-145 with functionally similar residues also affected the activity of the enzyme. The data suggest that Asn-107, His-109 and Asp-145 are catalytic residues, whereas Arg-41 is involved in tRNA recognition. In the Escherichia coli glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase, which also uses fTHF as the formyl donor, Asn-106, His-108 and Asp-144 participate in the catalytic step. Together, these observations imply that this group of enzymes uses the same basic mechanism in formylating their substrates.[1]


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