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

Cloning and characterization of methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The folate derivative 5-formyltetrahydrofolate (folinic acid; 5-CHO-THF) was discovered over 40 years ago, but its role in metabolism remains poorly understood. Only one enzyme is known that utilizes 5-CHO-THF as a substrate: 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase ( MTHFS). A BLAST search of the yeast genome using the human MTHFS sequence revealed a 211-amino acid open reading frame (YER183c) with significant homology. The yeast enzyme was expressed in Escherichia coli, and the purified recombinant enzyme exhibited kinetics similar to previously purified MTHFS. No new phenotype was observed in strains disrupted at MTHFS or in strains additionally disrupted at the genes encoding one or both serine hydroxymethyltransferases ( SHMT) or at the genes encoding one or both methylenetetrahydrofolate reductases. However, when the MTHFS gene was disrupted in a strain lacking the de novo folate biosynthesis pathway, folinic acid (5-CHO-THF) could no longer support the folate requirement. We have thus named the yeast gene encoding methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase FAU1 (folinic acid utilization). Disruption of the FAU1 gene in a strain lacking both 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR) transformylase isozymes (ADE16 and ADE17) resulted in a growth deficiency that was alleviated by methionine. Genetic analysis suggested that intracellular accumulation of the purine intermediate AICAR interferes with a step in methionine biosynthesis. Intracellular levels of 5-CHO-THF were determined in yeast disrupted at FAU1 and other genes encoding folate-dependent enzymes. In fau1 disruptants, 5-CHO-THF was elevated 4-fold over wild-type yeast. In yeast lacking MTHFS along with both AICAR transformylases, 5-CHO-THF was elevated 12-fold over wild type. 5-CHO-THF was undetectable in strains lacking SHMT activity, confirming SHMT as the in vivo source of 5-CHO-THF. Taken together, these results indicate that S. cerevisiae harbors a single, nonessential, MTHFS activity. Growth phenotypes of multiply disrupted strains are consistent with a regulatory role for 5-CHO-THF in one-carbon metabolism and additionally suggest a metabolic interaction between the purine and methionine pathways.[1]


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