High‐resolution structures of complexes of plant S‐adenosyl‐l‐homocysteine hydrolase (Lupinus luteus)
S‐Adenosyl‐l‐homocysteine hydrolase (SAHase) catalyzes the reversible breakdown of S‐adenosyl‐l‐homocysteine (SAH) to adenosine and homocysteine. SAH is formed in methylation reactions
that utilize S‐adenosyl‐l‐methionine (SAM) as a methyl donor. By removing the SAH byproduct, SAHase serves as a major regulator of SAM‐dependent biological methylation reactions. Here, the first crystal structure of SAHase of plant origin,
that from the legume yellow lupin (LlSAHase), is presented. Structures have been determined at high resolution for three complexes of the enzyme: those with a reaction byproduct/substrate (adenosine), with its nonoxidizable analog (cordycepin) and with a product of inhibitor cleavage
(adenine). In all three cases the enzyme has a closed conformation. A sodium cation is found near the active site, coordinated by residues from a conserved loop that hinges domain movement upon reactant binding. An insertion segment that is present in all plant SAHases is located near a substrate‐pocket
access channel and participates in its formation. In contrast to mammalian and bacterial SAHases, the channel is open when adenosine or cordycepin is bound and is closed in the adenine complex. In contrast to SAHases from other organisms, which are active as tetramers, the plant enzyme
functions as a homodimer in solution.