The activity of a yeast Family 16 methyltransferase, Efm2, is affected by a conserved tryptophan and its N-terminal region

Joshua J. Hamey, Gene Hart-Smith, Melissa A. Erce, Marc R. Wilkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


The Family 16 methyltransferases are a group of eukaryotic nonhistone protein methyltransferases. Sixteen of these have recently been described in yeast and human, but little is known about their sequence and structural features. Here we investigate one of these methyltransferases, Saccharomyces cerevisiae elongation factor methyltransferase 2 (Efm2), by site-directed mutagenesis and truncation. We show that an active site-associated tryptophan, invariant in Family 16 methyltransferases and at position 222 in Efm2, is important for methyltransferase activity. A second highly conserved tryptophan, at position 318 in Efm2, is likely involved in S-adenosyl methionine binding but is of lesser consequence for catalysis. By truncation analysis, we show that the N-terminal 50–200 amino acids of Efm2 are critical for its methyltransferase activity. As N-terminal regions are variable among Family 16 methyltransferases, this suggests a possible role in determining substrate specificity. This is consistent with recently solved structures that show the core of Family 16 methyltransferases to be near-identical but the N termini to be structurally quite different. Finally, we show that Efm2 can exist as an oligomer but that its N terminus is not necessary for oligomerisation to occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1320-1330
Number of pages11
JournalFEBS Open Bio
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • lysine methylation
  • methyltransferase
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae


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