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Evolution of Methods for the Study of Cobalamin-Dependent Radical SAM Enzymes

Erica K. Sinner, , Craig A. Townsend
Published: 13 October 2021

Abstract: While bioinformatic evidence of cobalamin-dependent radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) enzymes has existed since the naming of the radical SAM superfamily in 2001, none were biochemically characterized until 2011. In the past decade, the field has flourished as methodological advances have facilitated study of the subfamily. Because of the ingenuity and perseverance of researchers in this field, we now have functional, mechanistic, and structural insight into how this class of enzymes harnesses the power of both the cobalamin and radical SAM cofactors to achieve catalysis. All of the early characterized enzymes in this subfamily were methylases, but the activity of these enzymes has recently been expanded beyond methylation. We anticipate that the characterized functions of these enzymes will become both better understood and increasingly diverse with continued study.
Keywords: radical SAM enzyme / B12 / cobalamin / natural products / biosynthesis / carbapenem

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