Proteins and RNA molecules enjoy a variety of chemically complex post-translational and post-transcriptional modifications. The chemistry at work in these reactions, which was considered to be exclusively ionic in nature has recently been shown to depend on radical mechanisms in some cases. The overwhelming majority of these radical-based reactions are catalyzed by 'Radical-SAM' enzymes. This review article highlights mechanistic and structural aspects of this class of reactions and indicates important research directions to be addressed.
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