The catalytic mechanism of the RNA methyltransferase METTL3

TitleThe catalytic mechanism of the RNA methyltransferase METTL3
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsCorbeski I., Vargas-Rosales P.A, Bedi R.K, Deng J., Coelho D., Braud E., Iannazzo L., Li Y., Huang D., Ethève-Quelquejeu M., Cui Q., Caflisch A.
Date Published2024 Mar 12
Type of ArticleResearch Article
KeywordsBisubstrate analogues, METTL3-METTL14, QM/MM

The complex of methyltransferase-like proteins 3 and 14 (METTL3-14) is the major enzyme that deposits N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modifications on mRNA in humans. METTL3-14 plays key roles in various biological processes through its methyltransferase (MTase) activity. However, little is known about its substrate recognition and methyl transfer mechanism from its cofactor and methyl donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Here, we study the MTase mechanism of METTL3-14 by a combined experimental and multiscale simulation approach using bisubstrate analogues (BAs), conjugates of a SAM-like moiety connected to the N6-atom of adenosine. Molecular dynamics simulations based on crystal structures of METTL3-14 with BAs suggest that the Y406 side chain of METTL3 is involved in the recruitment of adenosine and release of m6A. A crystal structure representing the transition state of methyl transfer shows a direct involvement of the METTL3 side chains E481 and K513 in adenosine binding which is supported by mutational analysis. Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) free energy calculations indicate that methyl transfer occurs without prior deprotonation of adenosine-N6. Furthermore, the QM/MM calculations provide further support for the role of electrostatic contributions of E481 and K513 to catalysis. The multidisciplinary approach used here sheds light on the (co)substrate binding mechanism, catalytic step, and (co)product release catalysed by METTL3, and suggests that the latter step is rate-limiting. The atomistic information on the substrate binding and methyl transfer reaction of METTL3 can be useful for understanding the mechanisms of other RNA MTases and for the design of transition state analogues as their inhibitors.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.



Alternate JournaleLife
PubMed ID37732228
PubMed Central IDPMC10508762
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