A distinct protein lysine methyltransferase (PKMT) only transfers a certain number of methyl group(s) to its target lysine residue in spite of the fact that a lysine residue can be either mono-, di- or tri-methylated. In order to elucidate how such a remarkable product specificity is achieved, we have carried out ab initio quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) molecular dynamics simulations on two SET-domain PKMTs: SET7/9 and Rubisco large subunit methyltransferase (LSMT). The results indicate that the methylation state specificity is mainly controlled by the methyl-transfer reaction step, and confirm that SET7/9 is a mono-methyltransferase while LSMT has both mono-and di-methylation activities. It is found that the binding of the methylated lysine substrate in the active site of SET7/9 opens up the cofactor AdoMet binding channel so that solvent water molecules get access to the active site. This disrupts the catalytic machinery of SET7/9 for the di-methylation reaction, which leads to a higher activation barrier, whereas for the LSMT, its active site is more spacious than that of SET7/9, so that the methylated lysine substrate can be accommodated without interfering with its catalytic power. These detailed insights take account of protein dynamics and are consistent with available experimental results as well as recent theoretical findings regarding the catalytic power of SET7/9.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry