New Use for SAM from Li Zha and the Balskus Group

August 7, 2017
Li Zha Nature Publication, August 2017

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.

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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.
 
"Colibactin assembly line enzymes use S-adenosylmethionine to build a cyclopropane ring"
See also: Faculty, Postdoc