Mechanistic Studies of Radical SAM Enzymes: Pyruvate Formate-Lyase Activating Enzyme and Lysine 2,3-Aminomutase Case Studies


Amanda S. Byer, Elizabeth C. McDaniel, Stella Impano, William E. Broderick, Joan B. Broderick


Methods of Enzymology


The radical SAM enzyme superfamily is large and diverse, with ever-increasing numbers of examples of characterized reactions. This chapter focuses on the methodology we have developed over the last 25 years for working with these enzymes, with the specific examples discussed being the pyruvate formate-lyase activating enzyme (PFL-AE) and lysine 2,3-aminomutase (LAM). Both enzymes are purified from overexpressing Escherichia coli, but differ in that PFL-AE is expressed without an affinity tag and does not require iron-sulfur cluster reconstitution, while LAM purification is carried out through use of a His6 affinity tag and the enzyme benefits from cluster reconstitution. Because of radical SAM enzymes' catalytic need for a [4Fe-4S] cluster, we present methods for characterization and incorporation of a full [4Fe-4S] cluster in addition to enzyme activity assay protocols. Synthesis of SAM (S-adenosyl-l-methionine) and its analogs have played an important role in our mechanistic studies of radical SAM enzymes, and their synthetic methods are also presented in detail.



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