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Trends Biochem Sci. 2004 Jun;29(6):289-92.

Vitamin K epoxide reductase: homology, active site and catalytic mechanism.

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  • 1MRC Functional Genetics Unit, University of Oxford, Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QX, UK.


Vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKOR) recycles reduced vitamin K, which is used subsequently as a co-factor in the gamma-carboxylation of glutamic acid residues in blood coagulation enzymes. VKORC1, a subunit of the VKOR complex, has recently been shown to possess this activity. Here, we show that VKORC1 is a member of a large family of predicted enzymes that are present in vertebrates, Drosophila, plants, bacteria and archaea. Four cysteine residues and one residue, which is either serine or threonine, are identified as likely active-site residues. In some plant and bacterial homologues the VKORC1 homologous domain is fused with domains of the thioredoxin family of oxidoreductases. These might reduce disulfide bonds of VKORC1-like enzymes as a prerequisite for their catalytic activities.

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