Identification of an intermediate methyl carrier in the radical S-adenosylmethionine methylthiotransferases RimO and MiaB

Bradley J. Landgraf, Arthur J. Arcinas, Kyung Hoon Lee, Squire J. Booker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


RimO and MiaB are radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) enzymes that catalyze the attachment of methylthio (-SCH3) groups to macromolecular substrates. RimO attaches a methylthio group at C3 of aspartate 89 of protein S12, a component of the 30S subunit of the bacterial ribosome. MiaB attaches a methylthio group at C2 of N6-(isopentenyl)adenosine, found at nucleotide 37 in several prokaryotic tRNAs. These two enzymes are prototypical members of a subclass of radical SAM enzymes called methylthiotransferases (MTTases). It had been assumed that the sequence of steps in MTTase reactions involves initial sulfur insertion into the organic substrate followed by capping of the inserted sulfur atom with a SAM-derived methyl group. In this work, however, we show that both RimO and MiaB from Thermotoga maritima catalyze methyl transfer from SAM to an acid/base labile acceptor on the protein in the absence of their respective macromolecular substrates. Consistent with the assignment of the acceptor as an iron-sulfur cluster, denaturation of the SAM-treated protein with acid results in production of methanethiol. When RimO or MiaB is first incubated with SAM in the absence of substrate and reductant and then incubated with excess S-adenosyl-l-[methyl-d3]methionine in the presence of substrate and reductant, production of the unlabeled product precedes production of the deuterated product, showing that the methylated species is chemically and kinetically competent to be an intermediate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15404-15416
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 16 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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