* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received July 25, 2018; Revised December 18, 2018; Accepted December 29, 2018
Amino acids undergo many covalent modifications, but only few amino acid repair enzymes have been identified. Protein-L-isoaspartate (D-aspartate) O-methyltransferase (PIMT), also known as L-isoaspartyl/D-aspartyl protein carboxyl methyltransferase (PCMT), methylates covalently modified isoaspartate (isoAsp) residues accumulated in proteins via Asn deamidation and Asp hydrolysis. This cytoplasmic reaction occurs through the formation of succinimide cyclical intermediate and generates either isoAsp or Asp from succinimide. Succinimide conversion into Asp is spontaneous, while isoAsp is restored by PIMT using S-adenosylmethionine as a methyl donor. PIMT transforms isoAsp into succinimide, thereby creating an opportunity for the later to be converted into Asp. Apart from normal cell physiology, formation of isoAsp in proteins is promoted by various stress conditions. The resulting isoAsp can form a kink or bend in the protein backbone thus making the protein conformationally and functionally distorted. Many PIMT-interacting proteins (proteins with isoAsp residues) have been reported in eukaryotes, but only few of them have been found in prokaryotes. Extensive studies in mice have shown the importance of PIMT in neurodegeneration. Detail elucidation of PIMT function can create a platform for addressing various disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
KEY WORDS: protein L-isoaspartate (D-aspartate) O-methyltransferase, isoaspartate, S-adenosylmethionine, succinimide