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Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin - Structural Biology / Biochemistry

Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin | Department of Biology | Structural Biology / Biochemistry | Publications | Radical-mediated dehydration reactions in anaerobic bacteria

Wolfgang Buckel, Berta M Martins, Albrecht Messerschmidt, and Bernhard T Golding (2005)

Radical-mediated dehydration reactions in anaerobic bacteria

Biological Chemistry, 386(10):951-9.

Most dehydratases catalyse the elimination of water from beta-hydroxy ketones, beta-hydroxy carboxylic acids or beta-hydroxyacyl-CoA. The electron-withdrawing carbonyl functionalities acidify the alpha-hydrogens to enable their removal by basic amino acid side chains. Anaerobic bacteria, however, ferment amino acids via alpha- or gamma-hydroxyacyl-CoA, dehydrations of which involve the abstraction of a beta-hydrogen, which is ostensibly non-acidic (pK ca. 40). Evidence is accumulating that beta-hydrogens are acidified via transient conversion of the CoA derivatives to enoxy radicals by one-electron transfers, which decrease the pK to 14. The dehydrations of (R)-2-hydroxyacyl-CoA to (E)-2-enoyl-CoA are catalysed by heterodimeric [4Fe-4S]-containing dehydratases, which require reductive activation by an ATP-dependent one-electron transfer mediated by a homodimeric protein with a [4Fe-4S] cluster between the two subunits. The electron is further transferred to the substrate, yielding a ketyl radical anion, which expels the hydroxyl group and forms an enoxy radical. The dehydration of 4-hydroxybutyryl-CoA to crotonyl-CoA involves a similar mechanism, in which the ketyl radical anion is generated by one-electron oxidation. The structure of the FAD- and [4Fe-4S]-containing homotetrameric dehydratase is related to that of acyl-CoA dehydrogenases, suggesting a radical-based mechanism for both flavoproteins.