Purification, functional reconstitution, and characterization of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae isoprenylcysteine carboxylmethyltransferase Ste14p

Jessica L. Anderson, Hilary Frase, Susan Michaelis, Christine A. Hrycyna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Numerous proteins, including Ras, contain a C-terminal CAAX motif that directs a series of three sequential post-translational modifications: isoprenylation of the cysteine residue, endoproteolysis of the three terminal amino acids and α-carboxyl methylesterification of the isoprenylated cysteine. This study focuses on the isoprenylcysteine carboxylmethyltransferase (Icmt) enzyme from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Ste14p, the founding member of a homologous family of endoplasmic reticulum membrane proteins present in all eukaryotes. Ste14p, like all Icmts, has multiple membrane spanning domains, presenting a significant challenge to its purification in an active form. Here, we have detergent-solubilized, purified, and reconstituted enzymatically active His-tagged Ste14p from S. cerevisiae, thus providing conclusive proof that Ste14p is the sole component necessary for the carboxylmethylation of isoprenylated substrates. Among the extensive panel of detergents that was screened, optimal solubilization and retention of Ste14p activity occurred with n-dodecyl-β-D-maltoside. The activity of Ste14p could be further optimized upon reconstitution into liposomes. Our expression and purification schemes generate milligram quantities of pure and active Ste14p, which is highly stable under many conditions. Using pure reconstituted Ste14p, we demonstrate quantitatively that Ste14p does not have a preference for the farnesyl or geranylgeranyl moieties in the model substrates N-acetyl-S-farnesyl-L-cysteine (AFC) and N-acetyl-S-geranylgeranyl-L-cysteine (AGGC) in vitro. In addition to catalyzing methylation of AFC, we also show that purified Ste14p methylates a known in vivo substrate, Ras2p. Evidence that metals ions are required for activity of Ste14p is also presented. These results pave the way for further characterization of pure Ste14p, as well as determination of its three-dimensional structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7336-7345
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 25 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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