The role of Trp79 in β-actin on histidine methyltransferase SETD3 catalysis

Mays Al-Fakhar, Nurgül Bilgin, Laust Moesgaard, Apolonia Witecka, Jakub Drozak, Jacob Kongsted, Jasmin Mecinović

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N τ-methylation of His73 in actin by histidine methyltransferase SETD3 plays an important role in stabilising actin filaments in eukaryotes. Mutations in actin and overexpression of SETD3 have been related to human diseases, including cancer. Here, we investigated the importance of Trp79 in β-actin on productive human SETD3 catalysis. Substitution of Trp79 in β-actin peptides by its chemically diverse analogues reveals that the hydrophobic Trp79 binding pocket modulates the catalytic activity of SETD3, and that retaining a bulky and hydrophobic amino acid at position 79 is important for efficient His73 methylation by SETD3. Molecular dynamics simulations show that the Trp79 binding pocket of SETD3 is ideally shaped to accommodate large and hydrophobic Trp79, contributing to the favourable release of water molecules upon binding. Our results demonstrate that the distant Trp79 binding site plays an important role in efficient SETD3 catalysis, contributing to the identification of new SETD3 substrates and the development of chemical probes targeting the biomedically important SETD3.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202300490
Issue number21
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2. Nov 2023


  • SETD3 methyltransferase
  • beta-actin
  • enzyme catalysis
  • methylation
  • peptidomimetics
  • Methyltransferases/metabolism
  • Actins/chemistry
  • Histone Methyltransferases/chemistry
  • Humans
  • Catalysis
  • Methylation
  • Histidine/chemistry


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