Role of the metF and metJ genes on the vitamin B12 regulation of methionine gene expression: Involvement of N5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid

Xiao Yan Cai, Hieronim Jakubowski, Betty Redfield, Brain Zaleski, Nathan Brot, Herbert Weissbach

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5 Scopus citations


The repression of MetE synthesis in Escherichia coli by vitamin B12 is known to require the MetH holoenzyme (B12-dependent methyltransferase) and the metF gene product. Experiments using trimethoprim, an inhibitor of dihydrofolate reductase, show that the MetF protein is not directly involved in the repression, but that N5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid (N5-methyl-H4-folate), the product of the MetF enzymatic reaction is required. Since the methyl group from N5-methyl-H4-folate is normally transferred to the MetH holoenzyme to form a methyl-B12 enzyme, the present results suggest that a methyl-B12 enzyme is involved in the vitamin B12 repression of metE expression. Other results argue against the possibility that a methyl-B12 enzyme functions in this repression solely by decreasing the cellular level of homocysteine, which is required for MetR activation of metE expression. Experiments with metJ mutants show that the MetJ protein mediates about 50% of the repression of metE expression by B12 but is totally responsible for the regulation of metF expression by vitamin B12.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-658
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 31 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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