Radical S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) enzymes comprise a vast superfamily catalyzing diverse reactions essential to all life through homolytic SAM cleavage to liberate the highly reactive 5′-deoxyadenosyl radical (5′-dAdo·). Our recent observation of a catalytically competent organometallic intermediate ω that forms during reaction of the radical SAM (RS) enzyme pyruvate formate-lyase activating-enzyme (PFL-AE) was therefore quite surprising, and led to the question of its broad relevance in the superfamily. We now show that ω in PFL-AE forms as an intermediate under a variety of mixing order conditions, suggesting it is central to catalysis in this enzyme. We further demonstrate that ω forms in a suite of RS enzymes chosen to span the totality of superfamily reaction types, implicating ω as essential in catalysis across the RS superfamily. Finally, EPR and electron nuclear double resonance spectroscopy establish that ω involves an Fe-C5′ bond between 5′-dAdo· and the [4Fe-4S] cluster. An analogous organometallic bond is found in the well-known adenosylcobalamin (coenzyme B 12 ) cofactor used to initiate radical reactions via a 5′-dAdo· intermediate. Liberation of a reactive 5′-dAdo· intermediate via homolytic metal-carbon bond cleavage thus appears to be similar for ω and coenzyme B 12 . However, coenzyme B 12 is involved in enzymes catalyzing only a small number (∼12) of distinct reactions, whereas the RS superfamily has more than 100 000 distinct sequences and over 80 reaction types characterized to date. The appearance of ω across the RS superfamily therefore dramatically enlarges the sphere of bio-organometallic chemistry in Nature.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry