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Keywords:

  • catabolism;
  • enzyme catalysis;
  • lyases;
  • phosphonates;
  • S-adenosylmethionine enzymes
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Organophosphonates are widespread in nature, and their catabolic pathways are of great importance for many microorganisms. In a remarkable series of biochemical experiments, Raushel and co-workers reconstituted the carbon–phosphorus lyase activity, which cleaves the C[BOND]P bond of 5-phospho-α-D-ribosyl-methylphosphonate to produce methane and a cyclic phosphodiester in a reaction that requires S-adenosylmethionine and a [4Fe–4S] cluster.