TitleStructural basis for substrate discrimination by E. coli repair enzyme, AlkB
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsJayanth N, Ogirala N, Yadav A, Puranik M
Date Published2018

E. coli AlkB, a repair enzyme of the dioxygenase family, catalyses the removal of mutagenic methylated nucleotides from the genome. Known for substrate promiscuity, AlkB's catalytic mechanism and conformational changes accompanying substrate binding have been extensively dissected. However, the structural parameters of various substrates governing their recognition by AlkB still remain elusive. In this work, through solution-state vibrational spectra of methylated substrates bound to AlkB in combination with computational analysis, we show that the recognition specificity is dictated by the protonation states of the substrates. Specificity is conferred predominantly through hydrogen bonding and cation–π interactions. Furthermore, we report on the interaction of AlkB with normal, unmodified nucleotides, wherein the presence of an exocyclic amino group serves as an essential criterion for the initial process of substrate recognition. Taken together, these results provide a rationale for structural determinants of substrate specificity as well as mode of lesion discrimination employed by AlkB.