Published on July 9, 2010 in J Mol Biol volume 400.
PubMed ID: 20452364
Enzymes that use distinct active site structures to perform identical reactions are known as analogous enzymes. The isolation of analogous enzymes suggests the existence of multiple enzyme structural pathways that can catalyze the same chemical reaction. A fundamental question concerning analogous enzymes is whether their distinct active-site structures would confer the same or different kinetic constraints to the chemical reaction, particularly with respect to the control of enzyme turnover. Here, we address this question with the analogous enzymes of bacterial TrmD and its eukaryotic and archaeal counterpart Trm5. TrmD and Trm5 catalyze methyl transfer to synthesize the m1G37 base at the 3' position adjacent to the tRNA anticodon, using S-adenosyl methionine (AdoMet) as the methyl donor. TrmD features a trefoil-knot active-site structure whereas Trm5 features the Rossmann fold. Pre-steady-state analysis revealed that product synthesis by TrmD proceeds linearly with time, whereas that by Trm5 exhibits a rapid burst followed by a slower and linear increase with time. The burst kinetics of Trm5 suggests that product release is the rate-limiting step of the catalytic cycle, consistent with the observation of higher enzyme affinity to the products of tRNA and AdoMet. In contrast, the lack of burst kinetics of TrmD suggests that its turnover is controlled by a step required for product synthesis. Although TrmD exists as a homodimer, it showed half-of-the-sites reactivity for tRNA binding and product synthesis. The kinetic differences between TrmD and Trm5 are parallel with those between the two classes of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, which use distinct active site structures to catalyze tRNA aminoacylation. This parallel suggests that the findings have a fundamental importance for enzymes that catalyze both methyl and aminoacyl transfer to tRNA in the decoding process.