Protein Carboxyl Methylation-Demethylation May be Involved in Gene Activation

  • John A. Duerre
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (NATO ASI F, volume 231)


In 1965 Axelrod and Daly (1) reported the presence of a methanol-forming enzyme in bovine pituitary gland. Subsequent reports by Liss et al. (2–4) and Kim and Paik (5,6) described a protein-carboxyl-O-methyltransferase (EC which catalyzed the transfer of the methyl group from S-adenosylmethionine to the carboxyl side chain of glutamate and/or aspartate in various proteins (Scheme 1). This reaction results in the formation of protein-methyl esters which were first thought to undergo spontaneous hydrolysis to form methanol under physiological conditions. However, Gagnon et al. (7) found that various tissues from the rat contained a protein methyl esterase which would readily hydrolyze protein-methyl esters to produce methanol. Fetters et al. (8) came to similar conclusions. The protein methyl esters which resulted from the methylation of ACTH via a highly purified protein carboxyl methyl transferase from thymus were stable for several hours at pH 6.5 at 37°C. However, the resultant protein methyl esters were hydrolyzed rapidly upon the further addition of nucleoplasm or cytoplasm (Fig. 1). The resultant [3H]methanol was oxidized via an alcohol dehydrogenase or oxidase. Although alcohol dehydrogenase has been found to be primarily a liver enzyme, we found that alcohol was oxidized by extracts prepared from several different tissues, including thymus (8,9).


Carboxyl Side Chain Pulmonary Alveolar Macrophage Methyl Acceptor Nonhistone Chromosomal Protein Protein Carboxyl 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.






Nep A


AAdoMet, S





Protein Carboxyl methyl transferase


methyl acceptor proteins


phorbol-12 myristate-13-acetate


nonhistone chromosome proteins


adrenocorticotropic hormone


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. Duerre
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of MedicineUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA

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