Structural Diversity In The Adomet Radical Enzyme Superfamily

AdoMet radical enzymes are involved in processes such as cofactor biosynthesis, anaerobic metabolism, and natural product biosynthesis. These enzymes utilize the reductive cleavage of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) to afford L-methionine and a transient 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical, which subsequently generates a substrate radical species. By harnessing radical reactivity, the AdoMet radical enzyme superfamily is responsible for an incredible diversity of chemical transformations. Structural analysis reveals that family members adopt a full or partial Triose-phosphate Isomerase Mutase (TIM) barrel protein fold, containing core motifs responsible for binding a catalytic [4Fe-4S] cluster and AdoMet. Here we evaluate over twenty structures of AdoMet radical enzymes and classify them into two categories: traditional and ThiC-like (named for the structure of 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine phosphate synthase (ThiC)). In light of new structural data, we reexamine the traditional structural motifs responsible for binding the [4Fe-4S] cluster and AdoMet, and compare and contrast these motifs with the ThiC case. We also review how structural data combine with biochemical, spectroscopic, and computational data to help us understand key features of this enzyme superfamily, such as the energetics, the triggering, and the molecular mechanisms of AdoMet reductive cleavage.