Published on July 1, 2002 in J Mol Microbiol Biotechnol volume 4.
PubMed ID: 12125821
Functional analyses of the tRNA:(guanine 26, N2,N2)-dimethyltransferase (Trm1) have been hampered by a lack of structural information about the enzyme and by low sequence similarity to better studied methyltransferases. Here we used computational methods to detect novel homologs of Trm1, infer the evolutionary relationships of the family, and predict the structure of the Trm1 methyltransferase. The N-terminal region of the protein is predicted to form an S-adenosylmethionine-binding domain, which harbors the active site. The C-terminal region is rich in predicted alpha-helices and, in analogy to other nucleic acid methyltransferases, may constitute the target recognition domain of the enzyme. Interposing these two domains, most Trm1 homologs possess a highly variable inserted sequence that is delimited by a Cys4 cluster, likely forming a Zn-finger structure. The residues of Trm1 predicted to participate in cofactor binding, target recognition, and catalysis, were mapped onto a preliminary structural model, providing a platform for designing new experiments to better understand the molecular functions of this protein family. In addition, identification of novel, atypical Trm1 homologs suggests candidates for cloning and biochemical characterization.