Adenylyl cyclase (also commonly known as adenyl cyclase and adenylate cyclase, abbreviated AC) is an enzyme with key regulatory roles in essentially all cells. It is the most polyphyletic known enzyme: six distinct classes have been described, all catalyzing the same reaction but representing unrelated gene families with no known sequence or structural homology. The best known class of adenylyl cyclases is class III or AC-III (Roman numerals are used for classes). AC-III occurs widely in eukaryotes and has important roles in many human tissues. All classes of adenylyl cyclase catalyse the conversion of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to 3',5'-cyclic AMP (cAMP) and pyrophosphate. Magnesium ions are generally required and appear to be closely involved in the enzymatic mechanism. The cAMP produced by AC then serves as a regulatory signal via specific cAMP-binding proteins, either transcription factors, enzymes (e.g., cAMP-dependent kinases), or ion transporters.