Structures of Class Id Ribonucleotide Reductase Catalytic Subunits Reveal a Minimal Architecture for Deoxynucleotide Biosynthesis

Hannah R. Rose, Ailiena O. Maggiolo, Molly J. McBride, Gavin M. Palowitch, Maria Eirini Pandelia, Katherine M. Davis, Neela H. Yennawar, Amie K. Boal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Class I ribonucleotide reductases (RNRs) share a common mechanism of nucleotide reduction in a catalytic α subunit. All RNRs initiate catalysis with a thiyl radical, generated in class I enzymes by a metallocofactor in a separate β subunit. Class Id RNRs use a simple mechanism of cofactor activation involving oxidation of a Mn II 2 cluster by free superoxide to yield a metal-based Mn III Mn IV oxidant. This simple cofactor assembly pathway suggests that class Id RNRs may be representative of the evolutionary precursors to more complex class Ia-c enzymes. X-ray crystal structures of two class Id α proteins from Flavobacterium johnsoniae (Fj) and Actinobacillus ureae (Au) reveal that this subunit is distinctly small. The enzyme completely lacks common N-terminal ATP-cone allosteric motifs that regulate overall activity, a process that normally occurs by dATP-induced formation of inhibitory quaternary structures to prevent productive β subunit association. Class Id RNR activity is insensitive to dATP in the Fj and Au enzymes evaluated here, as expected. However, the class Id α protein from Fj adopts higher-order structures, detected crystallographically and in solution. The Au enzyme does not exhibit these quaternary forms. Our study reveals structural similarity between bacterial class Id and eukaryotic class Ia α subunits in conservation of an internal auxiliary domain. Our findings with the Fj enzyme illustrate that nucleotide-independent higher-order quaternary structures can form in simple RNRs with truncated or missing allosteric motifs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1845-1860
Number of pages16
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 9 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry


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