B12-dependent methionine synthase (MetH) from Escherichia coli is a large modular protein that uses bound cobalamin as an intermediate methyl carrier. Major domain rearrangements have been postulated to explain how cobalamin reacts with three different substrates: homocysteine, methyltetrahydrofolate and S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet). Here we describe the 3.0 Å structure of a 65 kDa C-terminal fragment of MetH that spans the cobalamin- and AdoMet-binding domains, arranged in a conformation suitable for the methyl transfer from AdoMet to cobalamin that occurs during activation. In the conversion to the activation conformation, a helical domain that capped the cofactor moves 26 Å and rotates by 63°, allowing formation of a new interface between cobalamin and the AdoMet-binding (activation) domain. Interactions with the MetH activation domain drive the cobalamin away from its binding domain in a way that requires dissociation of the axial cobalt ligand and, thereby, provide a mechanism for control of the distribution of enzyme conformations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology