Evolution of insect arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferases: structural evidence from the yellow fever mosquito

publication · 6 years ago
by Qian Han, Howard Robinson, Jianyong Li, Haizhen Ding, Bruce M. Christensen (University of Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Brookhaven National Laboratory)

Arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (aaNAT) catalyzes the transacetylation from acetyl-CoA to arylalkylamines. aaNATs are involved in sclerotization and neurotransmitter inactivation in insects. Phyletic distribution analysis confirms three clusters of aaNAT-like sequences in insects: typical insect aaNAT, polyamine NAT-like aaNAT, and mosquito unique putative aaNAT (paaNAT). Here we studied three proteins: aaNAT2, aaNAT5b, and paaNAT7, each from a different cluster. aaNAT2, a protein from the typical insect aaNAT cluster, uses histamine as a substrate as well as the previously identified arylalkylamines. aaNAT5b, a protein from polyamine NAT -like aaNAT cluster, uses hydrazine and histamine as substrates. The crystal structure of aaNAT2 was determined using single-wavelength anomalous dispersion methods, and that of native aaNAT2, aaNAT5b and paaNAT7 was detected using molecular replacement techniques. All three aaNAT structures have a common fold core of GCN5-related N-acetyltransferase superfamily proteins, along with a unique structural feature: helix/helices between ?3 and ?4 strands. Our data provide a start toward a more comprehensive understanding of the structure-function relationship and physiology of aaNATs from the mosquito Aedes aegypti and serve as a reference for studying the aaNAT family of proteins from other insect species. The structures of three different types of aaNATs may provide targets for designing insecticides for use in mosquito control.

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