YgjG is a putrescine aminotransferase enzyme that transfers amino groups from compounds with terminal primary amines to compounds with an aldehyde group using pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP) as a cofactor. Previous biochemical data show that the enzyme prefers primary diamines, such as putrescine, over ornithine as a substrate. To better understand the enzyme's substrate specificity, crystal structures of YgjG from Escherichia coli were determined at 2.3 and 2.1 Å resolutions for the free and putrescine-bound enzymes, respectively. Sequence and structural analyses revealed that YgjG forms a dimer that adopts a class III PLP-dependent aminotransferase fold. A structural comparison between YgjG and other class III aminotransferases revealed that their structures are similar. However, YgjG has an additional N-terminal helical structure that partially contributes to a dimeric interaction with the other subunit via a helix-helix interaction. Interestingly, the YgjG substrate-binding site entrance size and charge distribution are smaller and more hydrophobic than other class III aminotransferases, which suggest that YgjG has a unique substrate binding site that could accommodate primary aliphatic diamine substrates, including putrescine. The YgjG crystal structures provide structural clues to putrescine aminotransferase substrate specificity and binding.
Cha, H. J., Jeong, J. H., Rojviriya, C., & Kim, Y. G. (2014). Structure of putrescine aminotransferase from Escherichia coli provides insights into the substrate specificity among class III aminotransferases. PLoS ONE, 9(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0113212