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Structural Basis for Adenosylcobalamin Activation in AdoCbl-Dependent Ribonucleotide Reductases

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journal contribution
posted on 15.10.2010, 00:00 by Karl-Magnus Larsson, Derek T. Logan, Pär Nordlund
Class II ribonucleotide reductases (RNR) catalyze the formation of an essential thiyl radical by homolytic cleavage of the Co−C bond in their adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl) cofactor. Several mechanisms for the dramatic acceleration of Co−C bond cleavage in AdoCbl-dependent enzymes have been advanced, but no consensus yet exists. We present the structure of the class II RNR from Thermotoga maritima in three complexes: (i) with allosteric effector dTTP, substrate GDP, and AdoCbl; (ii) with dTTP and AdoCbl; (iii) with dTTP, GDP, and adenosine. Comparison of these structures gives the deepest structural insights so far into the mechanism of radical generation and transfer for AdoCbl-dependent RNR. AdoCbl binds to the active site pocket, shielding the substrate, transient 5′-deoxyadenosyl radical and nascent thiyl radical from solution. The e-propionamide side chain of AdoCbl forms hydrogen bonds directly to the α-phosphate group of the substrate. This interaction appears to cause a “locking-in” of the cofactor, and it is the first observation of a direct cofactor−substrate interaction in an AdoCbl-dependent enzyme. The structures support an ordered sequential reaction mechanism with release or relaxation of AdoCbl on each catalytic cycle. A conformational change of the AdoCbl adenosyl ribose is required to allow hydrogen transfer to the catalytic thiol group. Previously proposed mechanisms for radical transfer in B12-dependent enzymes cannot fully explain the transfer in class II RNR, suggesting that it may form a separate class that differs from the well-characterized eliminases and mutases.

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