S-alkylated homocysteine derivatives: new inhibitors of human betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase.
ABSTRACT: A series of S-alkylated derivatives of homocysteine were synthesized and characterized as inhibitors of human recombinant betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT). Some of these compounds inhibit BHMT with IC50 values in the nanomolar range. BHMT is very sensitive to the structure of substituents on the sulfur atom of homocysteine. The S-carboxybutyl and S-carboxypentyl derivatives make the most potent inhibitors, and an additional sulfur atom in the alkyl chain is well tolerated. The respective (R,S)-5-(3-amino-3-carboxy-propylsulfanyl)-pentanoic, (R,S)-6-(3-amino-3-carboxy-propylsulfanyl)-hexanoic, and (R,S)-2-amino-4-(2-carboxymethylsulfanyl-ethylsulfanyl)-butyric acids are very potent inhibitors and are the strongest ever reported. We determined that (R,S)-5-(3-amino-3-carboxy-propylsulfanyl)-pentanoic acid displays competitive inhibition with respect to betaine binding with a Kappi of 12 nM. Some of these compounds are currently being tested in mice to study the influence of BHMT on the metabolism of sulfur amino acids in vivo.
Project description:Betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT) catalyzes the transfer of a methyl group from betaine to l-homocysteine, yielding dimethylglycine and l-methionine. In this study, we prepared a new series of BHMT inhibitors. The inhibitors were designed to mimic the hypothetical transition state of BHMT substrates and consisted of analogues with NH, N(CH(3)), or N(CH(3))(2) groups separated from the homocysteine sulfur atom by a methylene, ethylene, or a propylene spacer. Only the inhibitor with the N(CH(3)) moiety and ethylene spacer gave moderate inhibition. This result led us to prepare two inhibitors lacking a nitrogen atom in the S-linked alkyl chain: (RS,RS)-5-(3-amino-3-carboxypropylthio)-3-methylpentanoic acid and (RS)-5-(3-amino-3-carboxypropylthio)-3,3-dimethylpentanoic acid. Both of these compounds were highly potent inhibitors of BHMT. The finding that BHMT does not tolerate a true betaine mimic within these inhibitors, especially the nitrogen atom, is surprising and evokes questions about putative conformational changes of BHMT upon the binding of the substrates/products and inhibitors.
Project description:We demonstrate that purified recombinant human betainehomocysteine methyltransferase-2 (BHMT-2) is a zinc metalloenzyme that uses S-methylmethionine (SMM) as a methyl donor for the methylation of homocysteine. Unlike the highly homologous betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT), BHMT-2 cannot use betaine. The K(m) of BHMT-2 for SMM was determined to be 0.94 mm, and it has a turnover number similar to BHMT. Several compounds were tested as inhibitors of recombinant human BHMT and BHMT-2. The SMM-specific methyltransferase activity of BHMT-2 is not inhibited by dimethylglycine and betaine, whereas the former is a potent inhibitor of BHMT. Methionine is a stronger inhibitor of BHMT-2 than BHMT, and S-adenosylmethionine does not inhibit BHMT but is a weak inhibitor of BHMT-2. BHMT can use SMM as a methyl donor with a k(cat)/K(m) that is 5-fold lower than the k(cat)/K(m) for betaine. However, SMM does not inhibit BHMT activity when it is presented to the enzyme at concentrations that are 10-fold greater than the subsaturating amounts of betaine used in the assay. Based on these data, it is our current hypothesis that in vivo most if not all of the SMM-dependent methylation of homocysteine occurs via BHMT-2.
Project description:Betaine homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT) and BHMT-2 enzymes methylate homocysteine to form methionine using betaine and S-methylmethionine, respectively. These activities are observed only in the liver of adult rodents, but in adult humans and pigs these activities are detected in both the liver and kidney, indicating the pig is a more appropriate model for studying the biochemical and physiological roles of these enzymes in human biology. Porcine BHMT and BHMT-2 cDNAs were cloned and sequenced, and their 5' and 3' UTR were amplified using RLM-RACE. The BHMT transcript had significantly longer 5' and 3' UTRs than BHMT-2. The pig BHMT and BHMT-2 genes span approximately 26 and 16kb, respectively, and both genes have 8 exons. The deduced amino acid sequences of BHMT and BHMT-2 contain 407 and 363 amino acids, respectively, and shared 78% amino acid identity. No promoter element (TATA or CAAT box) was observed for either BHMT or BHMT-2, although a CpG island surrounding the promoter and transcriptional start site was observed in both genes implying that methylation could regulate their expression. Using qPCR, it was determined that BHMT and BHMT-2 transcripts are very abundant in liver and kidney cortex, whereas the expression is significantly less in other tissues. These findings confirm that the expression pattern of BHMT and BHMT-2 genes in pigs is similar to humans, supporting the use of the pig as an animal model to study the genetics and regulation of BHMT and BHMT-2 expression.
Project description:Betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT) regulates homocysteine levels in the liver. We previously reported that the alteration of BHMT is associated with alcoholic liver steatosis and injury. In this study, we tested whether BHMT protects hepatocytes from homocysteine-induced injury and lipid accumulation. Both BHMT transfectants of HepG2 cells and primary mouse hepatocytes with suppressed BHMT were generated. Comparisons were made between the cell models with respect to their response to homocysteine treatments. Homocysteine metabolism was impaired in HepG2 cells, and the expression of BHMT in HepG2 cells ameliorated the impairment and stabilized the levels of intracellular homocysteine after the addition of exogenous homocysteine. BHMT expression inhibited homocysteine-induced glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) and C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP) and homocysteine-induced cell death. A betaine treatment protected primary mouse hepatocytes from a homocysteine-induced increase in GRP78 and cell death but not a tunicamycin-induced increase. Homocysteine induced greater CHOP expression (2.7-fold) in BHMT small interfering RNA (siRNA)-transfected cells than in a control (1.9-fold). Homocysteine-induced cell death was increased by 40% in the siRNA-treated cells in comparison with the control. Apolipoprotein B (apoB) expression was higher and triglycerides and cholesterol were lower in HepG2 expressing BHMT. In primary mouse hepatocytes, homocysteine induced the accumulation of triglycerides and cholesterol, which was reduced in the presence of betaine. Betaine partially reduced homocysteine-induced sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 expression in HepG2 cells and increased S-adenosylmethionine in primary mouse hepatocytes.The BHMT/betaine system directly protects hepatocytes from homocysteine-induced injury but not tunicamycin-induced injury, including an endoplasmic reticulum stress response, lipid accumulation, and cell death. This system also exhibits a more generalized effect on liver lipids by inducing ApoB expression and increasing S-adenosylmethionine/S-adenosylhomocysteine.
Project description:Elevated homocysteine is an important risk factor that increases cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disease morbidity. In mammals, B vitamin supplementation can reduce homocysteine levels. Whether, and how, hibernating mammals, that essentially stop ingesting B vitamins, maintain homocysteine metabolism and avoid cerebrovascular impacts and neurodegeneration remain unclear. Here, we compare homocysteine levels in the brains of torpid bats, active bats and rats to identify the molecules involved in homocysteine homeostasis. We found that homocysteine does not elevate in torpid brains, despite declining vitamin B levels. At low levels of vitamin B6 and B12, we found no change in total expression level of the two main enzymes involved in homocysteine metabolism (methionine synthase and cystathionine ?-synthase), but a 1.85-fold increase in the expression of the coenzyme-independent betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT). BHMT expression was observed in the amygdala of basal ganglia and the cerebral cortex where BHMT levels were clearly elevated during torpor. This is the first report of BHMT protein expression in the brain and suggests that BHMT modulates homocysteine in the brains of hibernating bats. BHMT may have a neuroprotective role in the brains of hibernating mammals and further research on this system could expand our biomedical understanding of certain cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disease processes.
Project description:Hyperhomocysteinemia is often associated with liver and metabolic diseases. We studied nuclear receptors that mediate oscillatory control of homocysteine homeostasis in mice.We studied mice with disruptions in Nr0b2 (called small heterodimer partner [SHP]-null mice), betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (Bhmt), or both genes (BHMT-null/SHP-null mice), along with mice with wild-type copies of these genes (controls). Hyperhomocysteinemia was induced by feeding mice alcohol (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism binge model) or chow diets along with water containing 0.18% DL-homocysteine. Some mice were placed on diets containing cholic acid (1%) or cholestyramine (2%) or high-fat diets (60%). Serum and livers were collected during a 24-hour light-dark cycle and analyzed by RNA-seq, metabolomic, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, immunoblot, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays.SHP-null mice had altered timing in expression of genes that regulate homocysteine metabolism compared with control mice. Oscillatory production of S-adenosylmethionine, betaine, choline, phosphocholine, glyceophosphocholine, cystathionine, cysteine, hydrogen sulfide, glutathione disulfide, and glutathione, differed between SHP-null mice and control mice. SHP inhibited transcriptional activation of Bhmt and cystathionine ?-lyase by FOXA1. Expression of Bhmt and cystathionine ?-lyase was decreased when mice were fed cholic acid but increased when they were placed on diets containing cholestyramine or high-fat content. Diets containing ethanol or homocysteine induced hyperhomocysteinemia and glucose intolerance in control, but not SHP-null, mice. In BHMT-null and BHMT-null/SHP-null mice fed a control liquid, lipid vacuoles were observed in livers. Ethanol feeding induced accumulation of macrovesicular lipid vacuoles to the greatest extent in BHMT-null and BHMT-null/SHP-null mice.Disruption of Shp in mice alters timing of expression of genes that regulate homocysteine metabolism and the liver responses to ethanol and homocysteine. SHP inhibits the transcriptional activation of Bhmt and cystathionine ?-lyase by FOXA1.
Project description:We have previously reported a positive correlation between the expression of BHMT (betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase) and ApoB (apolipoprotein B) in rat hepatoma McA (McArdle RH-7777) cells [Sowden, Collins, Smith, Garrow, Sparks and Sparks (1999) Biochem. J. 341, 639-645]. To examine whether a similar relationship occurs in vivo, hepatic BHMT expression was induced by feeding rats a Met (L-methionine)-restricted betaine-containing diet, and parameters of ApoB metabolism were evaluated. There were no generalized metabolic abnormalities associated with Met restriction for 7 days, as evidenced by control levels of serum glucose, ketones, alanine aminotransferase and L-homocysteine levels. Betaine plus the Met restriction resulted in lower serum insulin and non-esterified fatty acid levels. Betaine plus Met restriction induced hepatic BHMT 4-fold and ApoB mRNA 3-fold compared with Met restriction alone. No changes in percentage of edited ApoB mRNA were observed on the test diets. An increase in liver ApoB mRNA correlated with an 82% and 46% increase in ApoB and triacylglycerol production respectively using in vivo Triton WR 1339. Increased secretion of VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein) with Met restriction plus betaine was associated with a 45% reduction in liver triacylglycerol compared with control. Nuclear run-off assays established that transcription of both bhmt and apob genes was also increased in Met-restricted plus betaine diets. No change in ApoB mRNA stability was detected in BHMT-transfected McA cells. Hepatic ApoB and BHMT mRNA levels were also increased by 1.8- and 3-fold respectively by betaine supplementation of Met-replete diets. Since dietary betaine increased ApoB mRNA, VLDL ApoB and triacylglycerol production and decreased hepatic triacylglycerol, results suggest that induction of apob transcription may provide a potential mechanism for mobilizing hepatic triacylglycerol by increasing ApoB available for VLDL assembly and secretion.
Project description:Betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT) catalyzes the remethylation of homocysteine. BHMT is highly expressed in the human liver. In the liver, BHMT catalyzes up to 50% of homocysteine metabolism. Understanding the relationship between BHMT genetic polymorphisms and function might increase our understanding of the role of this reaction in homocysteine remethylation and in S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methylation. To help achieve those goals, we measured levels of BHMT enzyme activity and immunoreactive protein in 268 human hepatic surgical biopsy samples from adult subjects as well as 73 fetal hepatic tissue samples obtained at different gestational ages. BHMT protein levels were correlated significantly (p<0.001) with levels of enzyme activity in both fetal and adult tissues, but both were decreased in fetal tissue when compared with levels in the adult hepatic biopsies. To determine possible genotype-phenotype correlations, 12 tag SNPs for BHMT and the closely related BHMT2 gene were selected from SNPs observed during our own gene resequencing studies as well as from HapMap. These SNPs data were used to genotype DNA from the adult hepatic surgical biopsy samples, and genotype-phenotype association analysis was performed. Three SNPs (rs41272270, rs16876512, and rs6875201), located 28kb upstream, in the 5'-UTR and in intron 1 of BHMT, respectively, were significantly correlated with both BHMT activity (p=3.41E-8, 2.55E-9 and 2.46E-10, respectively) and protein levels (p=5.78E-5, 1.08E-5 and 6.92E-6, respectively). We also imputed 230 additional SNPs across the BHMT and BHMT2 genes, identifying an additional imputed SNP, rs7700790, that was also highly associated with hepatic BHMT enzyme activity and protein. However, none of the 3 genotyped or one imputed SNPs displayed a "shift" during electrophoretic mobility shift assays. These observations may help us to understand individual variation in the regulation of BHMT in the human liver and its possible relationship to variation in methylation.
Project description:Betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT) transfers a methyl group from betaine to Hcy to form DMG (dimethylglycine) and Met. The reaction is ordered Bi Bi; Hcy is the first substrate to bind and Met is the last product off. Using intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence [Castro, Gratson, Evans, Jiracek, Collinsova, Ludwig and Garrow (2004) Biochemistry 43, 5341-5351], it was shown that BHMT exists in three steady-state conformations: enzyme alone, enzyme plus occupancy at the first substrate-binding site (Hcy or Met), or enzyme plus occupancy at both substrate-binding sites (Hcy plus betaine, or Hcy plus DMG). Betaine or DMG alone do not bind to the enzyme, indicating that the conformational change associated with Hcy binding creates the betaine-binding site. CBHcy [S-(d-carboxybutyl)-D,L-homocysteine] is a bisubstrate analogue that causes BHMT to adopt the same conformation as the ternary complexes. We report that BHMT is susceptible to conformation-dependent oxidative inactivation. Two oxidants, MMTS (methyl methanethiosulphonate) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), cause a loss of the enzyme's catalytic Zn (Zn2+ ion) and a correlative loss of activity. Addition of 2-mercaptoethanol and exogenous Zn after MMTS treatment restores activity, but oxidation due to H2O2 is irreversible. CD and glutaraldehyde cross-linking indicate that H2O2 treatment causes small perturbations in secondary structure but no change in quaternary structure. Oxidation is attenuated when both binding sites are occupied by CBHcy, but Met alone has no effect. Partial digestion of ligand-free BHMT with trypsin produces two large peptides, excising a seven-residue peptide within loop L2. CBHcy but not Met binding slows down proteolysis by trypsin. These findings suggest that L2 is involved in the conformational change associated with occupancy at the betaine-binding site and that this conformational change and/or occupancy at both ligand-binding sites protect the enzyme from oxidative inactivation.
Project description:Betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT) catalyzes the remethylation of homocysteine. BHMT2 encodes a protein 73% identical in amino acid sequence to BHMT, but the function of BHMT2 remains unclear. We set out to identify and functionally characterize common genetic variation in BHMT and BHMT2. Specifically, we sequenced exons, exon-intron splice junctions and the 5'-flanking regions (5'-FRs) of BHMT and BHMT2 using 240 DNA samples from four ethnic groups. Twenty-five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including 4 nonsynonymous SNPs, and 39 SNPs, including 4 nonsynonymous, were observed in BHMT and BHMT2, respectively. BHMT wild type (WT) and variant allozymes were expressed in COS-1 cells. Variant allozymes showed no significant differences from WT in levels of enzyme activity or immunoreactive protein, but there were statistically significant differences in apparent K(m) values. Luciferase reporter gene constructs were created for the three most common BHMT 5'-FR haplotypes, and significant variation was observed in the ability of these constructs to drive transcription. Although BHMT2 mRNA has been observed in human liver and kidney, expression of the protein has not been reported. We were unable to express BHMT2 in mammalian cells, and the protein aggregated after bacterial expression. Furthermore, BHMT2 was rapidly degraded in a rabbit reticulocyte lysate, but it could be stabilized by cotransfection of COS-1 cells with BHMT and, after cotransfection, it coprecipitated with BHMT. These studies have defined common genetic variation in BHMT and BHMT2 and functionally characterized BHMT SNPs. They may also help to explain why BHMT2 has not previously been defined functionally.