Consecutive radical S-adenosylmethionine methylations form the ethyl side chain in thienamycin biosynthesis

Daniel R. Marous, Evan P. Lloyd, Andrew R. Buller, Kristos A. Moshos, Tyler L. Grove, Anthony J. Blaszczyk, Squire J. Booker, Craig A. Townsend

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Despite their broad anti-infective utility, the biosynthesis of the paradigm carbapenem antibiotic, thienamycin, remains largely unknown. Apart from the first two steps shared with a simple carbapenem, the pathway sharply diverges to the more structurally complex members of this class of β-lactam antibiotics, such as thienamycin. Existing evidence points to three putative cobalamin dependent radical S-adenosylmethionine (RS) enzymes, ThnK, ThnL, and ThnP, as potentially being responsible for assembly of the ethyl side chain at C6, bridgehead epimerization at C5, installation of the C2-thioether side chain, and C2/3 desaturation. The C2 substituent has been demonstrated to be derived by stepwise truncation of CoA, but the timing of these events with respect to C2-S bond formation is not known. We show that ThnK of the three apparent cobalamin-dependent RS enzymes performs sequential methylations to build out the C6-ethyl side chain in a stereocontrolled manner. This enzymatic reaction was found to produce expected RS methylase coproducts S-adenosylhomocysteine and 5′-deoxyadenosine, and to require cobalamin. For double methylation to occur, the carbapenam substrate must bear a CoA-derived C2-thioether side chain, implying the activity of a previous sulfur insertion by an as-yet unidentified enzyme. These insights allow refinement of the central steps in complex carbapenem biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10354-10358
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 18 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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