Annual Meeting

Enzymes show off new moves

A 2022 annual meeting session on enzymology
Tadhg Begley Catherine Drennan
By Tadhg Begley and Catherine Drennan
Sept. 30, 2021

Enzymes are responsible for the chemical reactions that enable all forms of life. Whether it’s the archaea living in hot springs, the bacteria deep in our soil, the plants harnessing energy from the sun or all animals, including us humans, we are all united in our reliance on enzymes. 

Understanding enzymatic chemistry enables us to tackle critical health and environmental problems, such as designing new therapeutics for diseases or using unique enzymatic capabilities for bioremediation. However, we have only skimmed the surface of learning the full scope of chemical reactions that are enzymatically catalyzed, the mysterious and intricate mechanisms that can be performed, and the dynamic motions enzymes undergo to accomplish their chemical tasks.

The presentations in this session will cover many exciting developments in enzymology, including recently discovered enzymatic functions, evidence for trapping long-anticipated enzymatic intermediates, insight into how various cofactors can enable unique reactions, and cutting-edge experimental approaches enabling us to understand better how enzymes dynamically function. There’s still a whole lot to learn about how enzymes get their jobs done. 

Keywords: enzymes, enzyme mechanisms, structural biology, biochemistry, radical SAM enzymes, metalloenzymes, natural product biosynthesis

Who should attend: all who are fascinated by how enzymes can use some newly discovered tricks, handy cofactors and dynamic movements to carry out their chemistry

Theme song: “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan

This session is powered proteins, cofactors and coffee.


  • Repairing enzymes using spare parts — Cathy Drennan, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Machinery in motion: New insights into mitochondrial proteostasis — Gabriel Lander, Scripps Research
  • Structural biology of natural product biosynthetic enzymes — Janet Smith, University of Michigan
  • An aerobic strategy for C–H bond functionalization — Jennifer Bridwell–Rabb, University of Michigan
  • Riboflavin catabolism: The destruction of an icon — Tadhg Begley, Texas A&M University
  • Correlated motions in enzymes — Nozomi Ando, Cornell University
  • Nickel pincer nucleotide: Biosynthesis and function — Robert Hausinger, Michigan State University
  • Bacterial biosynthesis of natural products —Katherine Ryan, University of British Columbia
  • Radical SAMs and the vast unexplored chemistry of RiPP natural products —Douglas Alan Mitchell, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign
  • The biosynthesis of lipoic acid: A saga of death, destruction and rebirth — Squire Booker, Penn State University
  • Unraveling the secrets of radical SAM mechanisms — Joan Broderick, Montana State University
  • How do aerobic organisms solve the oxygen sensitivity problem of [4Fe–4S] in radical SAM enzymes? — Hening Lin, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Cornell University

Learn more

Check out all ten thematic symposia planned for the 2022 ASBMB annual meeting:

Tadhg Begley
Tadhg Begley

Tadhg Begley is a professor and chair of chemistry at Texas A&M University.

Catherine Drennan
Catherine Drennan

Catherine Drennan is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a professor of biology and chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

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