New insights into radical initiation by radical S-adenosylmethionine enzymes and activation of [FeFe]-hydrogenase
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Radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) enzymes harbor a [4Fe-4S] cluster in their active sites that coordinates a catalytically relevant small molecule SAM. During catalysis the S-5'C bond of SAM is reductively cleaved to generate a 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical that subsequently abstracts an H atom from substrate, allowing functionally diverse reactions to be achieved. Trapping of the 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical intermediate during turnover had proven difficult likely due to the formation of omega intermediate resulting from the oxidative addition of the 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical to the unique iron of the cluster. Recently, our laboratory showed that this elusive 5'-deoxyadenosyl can be liberated, captured, and characterized, in the absence of substrate, via photoinduced electron transfer (ET)-mediated reductive cleavage of SAM. Further, photolysis of [4Fe-4S] +-SAM complexes in different radical SAM enzymes revealed that the regioselective bond cleavage of SAM is dependent on the active site environment where either a 5'-deoxyadenosyl or a *CH 3, depending on the enzyme. When Sadenosyl- ethionine is used in place of SAM in the [4Fe-4S] +-SAM complex of HydE or HydG an ethyl radical is trapped. In either case, annealing of the methyl and ethyl radicals yields corresponding omega-like species, omega M and omega E, respectively. Functionally, HydE and HydG work together with a third protein HydF, to synthesize the H-cluster of [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzymes. HydG lyses tyrosine to generate CO and CN - ligands of the diiron core of the H-cluster, while the role and substrate of HydE are yet to be elucidated; however, it is hypothesized that this enzyme is responsible for dithiomethylamine (DTMA) bridge assembly. Our hypothesis is that HydE uses ammonium as a co-substrate and we propose that this polyatomic ion condenses with two CH 2S- like species to assemble the DTMA. We demonstrate for the first time via EPR and ENDOR spectroscopic techniques that HydE harbors an ammonium binding site; this NH 4 + would be stored in the active site of HydE prior to DTMA synthesis. Additionally, through in vitro [FeFe]-hydrogenase assays, we investigate what component of the essential E. coli lysate is required for H-cluster assembly. Results from this work suggest that the Hyd maturases are not the only proteins needed for H-cluster biosynthesis.