Nat Commun. 2021 Jul 20;12(1):4417. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24685-6.
Endoperoxide-containing natural products are a group of compounds with structurally unique cyclized peroxide moieties. Although numerous endoperoxide-containing compounds have been isolated, the biosynthesis of the endoperoxides remains unclear. NvfI from Aspergillus novofumigatus IBT 16806 is an endoperoxidase that catalyzes the formation of fumigatonoid A in the biosynthesis of novofumigatonin. Here, we describe our structural and functional analyses of NvfI. The structural elucidation and mutagenesis studies indicate that NvfI does not utilize a tyrosyl radical in the reaction, in contrast to other characterized endoperoxidases. Further, the crystallographic analysis reveals significant conformational changes of two loops upon substrate binding, which suggests a dynamic movement of active site during the catalytic cycle. As a result, NvfI installs three oxygen atoms onto a substrate in a single enzyme turnover. Based on these results, we propose a mechanism for the NvfI-catalyzed, unique endoperoxide formation reaction to produce fumigatonoid A.