Structural features promoting dioxygen production by Dechloromonas aromatica chlorite dismutase

Brandon R. Goblirsch, Bennett R. Streit, Jennifer L. DuBois, Carrie M. Wilmot

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48 Scopus citations


Chlorite dismutase (Cld) is a heme enzyme capable of rapidly and selectively decomposing chlorite (ClO 2 -) to Cl - and O 2. The ability of Cld to promote O 2 formation from ClO 2 - is unusual. Heme enzymes generally utilize ClO 2 - as an oxidant for reactions such as oxygen atom transfer to, or halogenation of, a second substrate. The X-ray crystal structure of Dechloromonas aromatica Cld co-crystallized with the substrate analogue nitrite (NO 2 -) was determined to investigate features responsible for this novel reactivity. The enzyme active site contains a single btype heme coordinated by a proximal histidine residue. Structural analysis identified a glutamate residue hydrogenbonded to the heme proximal histidine that may stabilize reactive heme species. A solvent-exposed arginine residue likely gates substrate entry to a tightly confined distal pocket. On the basis of the proposed mechanism of Cld, initial reaction of ClO 2 - within the distal pocket generates hypochlorite (ClO -) and a compound I intermediate. The sterically restrictive distal pocket probably facilitates the rapid rebound of ClO - with compound I forming the Cl - and O 2 products. Common to other heme enzymes, Cld is inactivated after a finite number of turnovers, potentially via the observed formation of an off-pathway tryptophanyl radical species through electron migration to compound I. Three tryptophan residues of Cld have been identified as candidates for this off-pathway radical. Finally, a juxtaposition of hydrophobic residues between the distal pocket and the enzyme surface suggests O 2 may have a preferential direction for exiting the active site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-888
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Chlorite dismutase
  • Crystal structure
  • Heme

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