Evidence that Human Histidine Triad Nucleotide Binding Protein 3 (Hint3) is a Distinct Branch of the Histidine Triad (HIT) Superfamily

Tsui Fen Chou, Jilin Cheng, Ilya B. Tikh, Carston R. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Human Hint3 (hHint3) has been classified as a member of the histidine triad nucleotide (Hint) binding protein subfamily. While Hint1 is ubiquitously expressed by both eukaryotes and prokaryotes, Hint3 is found only in eukaryotes. Previously, our laboratory has characterized and compared the aminoacyl-adenylate and nucleoside phosphoramidate hydrolase activity of hHint1 and Escherichia coli hinT. In this study, hHint3-1(Ala36) and its single nucleotide polymorphism, hHint3-2 (A36G variant), were cloned, overexpressed, and purified. Steady-state kinetic studies with a synthetic fluorogenic indolepropinoic acyl-adenylate (AIPA) and with a series of fluorogenic tryptamine nucleoside phosphoramidates revealed that hHint3-1 and hHint3-2 are adenylate and phosphoramidate hydrolases with apparent second-order rate constants (kcat/Km) ranging from 102 to 106 s- 1 M- 1. Unlike hHint1, hHint3-1 and hHint3-2 prefer AIPA over tryptamine adenosine phosphoramidate by factors of 33- and 16-fold, respectively. In general, hHint3s hydrolyze phosphoramidate 370- to 2000-fold less efficiently than hHint1. Substitution of the potential active-site nucleophile, His145, by Ala was shown to abolish the adenylate and phosphoramidate hydrolase activity for hHint3-1. However, 0.2-0.4% residual activity was observed for the H145A mutant of hHint3-2. Both hHint3-1 and hHint3-2 were found to hydrolyze lysyl-adenylate generated by human lysyl-tRNA synthetase (hLysRS) by proceeding through an adenylated protein intermediate. hLysRS-dependent labeling of hHint3-1 and hHint3-2 was found to depend on His145, which aligns with the His112 of the Hint1 active site. The extent of active-site His145-AMP labeling was shown to be similar to His112-AMP labeling of hHint1. In contrast to all previously characterized members of the histidine triad superfamily, which have been shown to exist exclusively as homodimers, wild type and the H145A of hHint3-1 were found to exist across a range of multimeric states, from dimers to octamers and even larger oligomers, while wild type and the H145A of hHint3-2 exist predominantly in a monomeric state. The differences in oligomeric state may be important in vivo, because unlike tetracysteine-tagged Hint1, which was found along linear arrays exclusively in the cytoplasm in transfected HeLa cells, tagged Hint3-1 and Hint3-2 were found as aggregates both in the cytosol and in the nucleus. Taken together, these results imply that while Hint3 and Hint1 prefer aminoacyl-adenylates as substrates and catalytically interact with aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, the significant differences in phosphoramidase activity, oligomeric state, and cellular localization suggest that Hint3s should be placed in a distinct branch of the histidine triad superfamily.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-989
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2 2007


  • human Hint1
  • human Hint3-1
  • human Hint3-2
  • lysyl-tRNA synthetase
  • phosphoramidase

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