The past year has witnessed significant advances in the study of oxygen-activating nonheme iron enzymes. Thirteen crystal structures of substrate and substrate analog complexes of protocatechuate 3,4-dioxygenase have revealed intimate details about changes at the enzyme active site during catalysis. Crystallographic data have established a 2-His-1-carboxylate facial triad as a structural motif common to a number of mononuclear nonheme iron enzymes, including isopenicillin N synthase, tyrosine hydroxylase and naphthalene dioxygenase. The first metrical data has been obtained for the high valent intermediates Q and X of methane monooxygenase and ribonucleotide reductase, respectively. The number of enzymes thought to have nonheme diiron sites has been expanded to include alkene monooxygenase from Xanthobacter strain Py2 and the membrane-bound alkane hydroxylase from Pseudomonas oleovorans (AlkB). Finally, synthetic complexes have successfully mimicked chemistry performed by both mono- and dinuclear nonheme iron enzymes, such as the extradiol-cleaving catechol dioxygenases, lipoxygenase, alkane and alkene monoxygenases and fatty acid desaturases.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
National Institutes of Health (GM-33162 and GM-38767) and the National ,Science Foundation (MCB-9405723). We thank Allen Orville and Douglas Ohlcndorf for providing the coordinates to the structures shown m Figure 1.