Michael Funk’s favorite structure is:

Methionine synthase cobalamin-binding domain (PDB code 1BMT)

2014-09-01 17.21.22

Source: Michael Funk


Cobalamin (or vitamin B12) is an essential nutrient for humans, but it is also a beautiful and fascinating molecule. Cobalamin contains a cobalt atom locked in a ring of carbon and nitrogen atoms. The metal gives this cofactor its brilliant colors, from pink to red to orange, and powerful reactivity as a carrier of methyl groups and initiator of radical reactions. For many years it was unknown how enzymes bound cobalamin and used it to perform difficult chemistry. The structure of the cobalamin-binding domain of methionine synthase (Drennan et al., 1995 Science) revealed that cobalamin binds to the protein in a different conformation than what exists in solution. The protein interacts with the cobalt atom at the core of cobalamin to alter its reactivity. Subsequent studies on other cobalamin-binding enzymes have confirmed and expanded the conclusions gained from this ground breaking structure. In the above 3D printed structure, cobalamin (yellow) is bound to the cobalamin-binding domain of methionine synthase (green).—Michael Funk

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