Structural requirements for transformation of substrates by the S-adenosyl-L-methionine:Δ24(25)-sterol methyltransferase: Inhibition by analogs of the transition state coordinate

Giselle G. Janssen, W. David Nes

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Microsomes from sunflower seedlings were used to investigate the transition state coordinate for the C-24 methylation reaction that mediates phytosterol biosynthesis. They were then used to study structurally related cationic and uncharged compounds of the natural sterol substrate, which were designed to interfere with the reaction progress. The hypothetical reaction course is described to proceed through an Sn2 formation of an activated complex involving the initial production of a covalent structure with a dative bond (methyl from AdoMet attacks si-face of the 24,25-double bond of the sterol) and the secondary production of a series of high energy intermediates, the stabilization of which determines the final C-24 methylated product. Derivatives of lanosterol and cholesterol with a methyl, hydrogen, oxygen, or bromine atom introduced into the side chain and/or at C-3 in place of the natural nucleophile were studied as inhibitors that interfere with the formation of the hypothetical tertiary isopropylcarbinyl cation intermediate in the conversion of cycloartenol to 24(28)-methylene cycloartanol. The data indicate the most potent inhibitor is a sterol with an aziridine group attached to C-24(25), which mimics the bridged C-24(25) carbenium ion generated in the transition state, and the methyltransferase possesses two strategic sites: one that recognizes the proximal end of the sterol acting as a proton donor and the other that recognizes the distal end that acts as a proton acceptor. The best fit (binding/catalysis) involves a flat sterol (including substrate and inhibitor) with intact unsubstituted nucleophilic centers at C-3 and C-24 and a freely rotating side chain that can assume the pseudocyclic conformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25856-25863
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - Dec 25 1992


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