A seven-transmembrane methyltransferase catalysing N-terminal histidine methylation of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases

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Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) are oxidative enzymes that help break down lignocellulose, making them highly attractive for improving biomass utilization in industrial biotechnology. The catalytically essential N-terminal histidine (His1) of LPMOs is post-translationally modified by methylation in filamentous fungi to protect them from auto-oxidative inactivation, however, the responsible methyltransferase enzyme is unknown. Using mass-spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics in combination with systematic CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screening in Aspergillus nidulans, we identify the N-terminal histidine methyltransferase (NHMT) encoded by the gene AN4663. Targeted proteomics confirm that NHMT was solely responsible for His1 methylation of LPMOs. NHMT is predicted to encode a unique seven-transmembrane segment anchoring a soluble methyltransferase domain. Co-localization studies show endoplasmic reticulum residence of NHMT and co-expression in the industrial production yeast Komagataella phaffii with LPMOs results in His1 methylation of the LPMOs. This demonstrates the biotechnological potential of recombinant production of proteins and peptides harbouring this specific post-translational modification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4202
JournalNature Communications
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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