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Nonheme Fe(II) and 2-oxoglutarate (2OG)-dependent histone lysine demethylases 2A (KDM2A) catalyze the demethylation of the mono- or dimethylated lysine 36 residue in the histone H3 peptide (H3K36me1/me2), which plays a crucial role in epigenetic regulation and can be involved in many cancers. Although the overall catalytic mechanism of KDMs has been studied, how KDM2 catalysis takes place in contrast to other KDMs remains unknown. Understanding such differences is vital for enzyme redesign and can help in enzyme-selective drug design. Herein, we employed molecular dynamics (MD) and combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) to explore the complete catalytic mechanism of KDM2A, including dioxygen diffusion and binding, dioxygen activation, and substrate oxidation. Our study demonstrates that the catalysis of KDM2A is controlled by the conformational change of the second coordination sphere (SCS), specifically by a change in the orientation of Y222, which unlocks the 2OG rearrangement from off-line to in-line mode. The study demonstrates that the variant Y222A makes the 2OG rearrangement more favorable. Furthermore, the study reveals that it is the size of H3K36me3 that prevents the 2OG rearrangement, thus rendering the enzyme inactivity with trimethylated lysine. Calculations show that the SCS and long-range interacting residues that stabilize the HAT transition state in KDM2A differ from those in KDM4A, KDM7B, and KDM6A, thus providing the basics for the enzyme-selective redesign and modulation of KDM2A without influencing other KDMs.

Original publication




Journal article


Inorg Chem

Publication Date