A thorough analysis and categorization of bacterial interrupted adenylation domains, including previously unidentified families

Taylor A. Lundy, Shogo Mori, Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Interrupted adenylation (A) domains are key to the immense structural diversity seen in the nonribosomal peptide (NRP) class of natural products (NPs). Interrupted A domains are A domains that contain within them the catalytic portion of another domain, most commonly a methylation (M) domain. It has been well documented that methylation events occur with extreme specificity on either the backbone (N-) or side chain (O- or S-) of the amino acid (or amino acid-like) building blocks of NRPs. Here, through taxonomic and phylogenetic analyses as well as multiple sequence alignments, we evaluated the similarities and differences between interrupted A domains. We probed their taxonomic distribution amongst bacterial organisms, their evolutionary relatedness, and described conserved motifs of each type of M domain found to be embedded in interrupted A domains. Additionally, we categorized interrupted A domains and the M domains within them into a total of seven distinct families and six different types, respectively. The families of interrupted A domains include two new families, 6 and 7, that possess new architectures. Rather than being interrupted between the previously described a2-a3 or a8-a9 of the ten conserved A domain sequence motifs (a1-a10), family 6 contains an M domain between a6-a7, a previously unknown interruption site. Family 7 demonstrates that di-interrupted A domains exist in Nature, containing an M domain between a2-a3 as well as one between a6-a7, displaying a novel arrangement. These in-depth investigations of amino acid sequences deposited in the NCBI database highlighted the prevalence of interrupted A domains in bacterial organisms, with each family of interrupted A domains having a different taxonomic distribution. They also emphasized the importance of utilizing a broad range of bacteria for NP discovery. Categorization of the families of interrupted A domains and types of M domains allowed for a better understanding of the trends of naturally occurring interrupted A domains, which illuminated patterns and insights on how to harness them for future engineering studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-250
Number of pages18
JournalRSC Chemical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award MCB-1149427 (to S. G.-T.) and by startup funds from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy (to S. G.-T.). T. A. L. was in part supported by a 2019–2020 Pharmaceutical Sciences Excellence in Graduate Achievement Fellowship from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky as well as a 2019–2020 Pre-doctoral Fellowship in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the American Foundation of Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry


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