Dph7 catalyzes a previously unknown demethylation step in diphthamide biosynthesis

Zhewang Lin, Xiaoyang Su, Wei Chen, Bo Ci, Sheng Zhang, Hening Lin

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20 Scopus citations


Present on archaeal and eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2, diphthamide represents one of the most intriguing post-translational modifications on proteins. The biosynthesis of diphthamide was proposed to occur in three steps requiring seven proteins, Dph1-7, in eukaryotes. The functional assignments of Dph1-5 in the first and second step have been well established. Recent studies suggest that Dph6 (yeast YLR143W or human ATPBD4) and Dph7 (yeast YBR246W or human WDR85) are involved in the last amidation step, with Dph6 being the actual diphthamide synthetase catalyzing the ATP-dependent amidation reaction. However, the exact molecular role of Dph7 is unclear. Here we demonstrate that Dph7 is an enzyme catalyzing a previously unknown step in the diphthamide biosynthesis pathway. This step is between the Dph5- and Dph6-catalyzed reactions. We demonstrate that the Dph5-catalyzed reaction generates methylated diphthine, a previously overlooked intermediate, and Dph7 is a methylesterase that hydrolyzes methylated diphthine to produce diphthine and allows the Dph6-catalyzed amidation reaction to occur. Thus, our study characterizes the molecular function of Dph7 for the first time and provides a revised diphthamide biosynthesis pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6179-6182
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 30 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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