Document Type


Publication Date



This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in RNA.

Volume 16, Issue 12, December 2010, Pages 2484-2492

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1261/rna.2376210. Copyright © RNA Society


Trm5 is a eukaryal and archaeal tRNA methyltransferase that catalyzes methyl transfer from S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) to the N(1) position of G37 directly 3' to the anticodon. While the biological role of m(1)G37 in enhancing translational fidelity is well established, the catalytic mechanism of Trm5 has remained obscure. To address the mechanism of Trm5 and more broadly the mechanism of N-methylation to nucleobases, we examined the pH-activity profile of an archaeal Trm5 enzyme, and performed structure-guided mutational analysis. The data reveal a marked dependence of enzyme-catalyzed methyl transfer on hydrogen ion equilibria: the single-turnover rate constant for methylation increases by one order of magnitude from pH 6.0 to reach a plateau at pH 7.0. This suggests a mechanism involving proton transfer from G37 as the key element in catalysis. Consideration of the kinetic data in light of the Trm5-tRNA-AdoMet ternary cocrystal structure, determined in a precatalytic conformation, suggests that proton transfer is associated with an induced fit rearrangement of the complex that precedes formation of the reactive configuration in the active site. Key roles for the conserved R145 side chain in stabilizing a proposed oxyanion at G37-O(6), and for E185 as a general base to accept the proton from G37-N(1), are suggested based on the mutational analysis.

PubMed ID




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.