Li Zha, a sixth-year graduate student in the Balskus Lab, is the lead author on a new paper titled "Colibactin assembly line enzymes use S-adenosylmethionine to build a cyclopropane ring," from Nature Chemical Biology.
August 7, 2017
About the Discovery
During a study of an elusive human gut genotoxin, colibactin, Li and the Balskus group, in collaboration with the Kelleher group at Northwestern University, showcased a new use for the important and versatile cofactor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). They identified an unusual nonribosomal peptide synthetase that utilizes SAM as a nonproteinogenic amino acid, and a novel route SAM is converted into the cyclopropane moiety that likely mediates colibactin’s genotoxic activity.
Learn more about Professor Balskus and her work discovering, understanding, and manipulating microbial chemistry.