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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2005 Jan 1;433(1):227-39.

The radical chemistry of galactose oxidase.

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  • 1Department of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems, OGI School of Science and Engineering, Oregon Health and Science University, 20000 N.W. Walker Road, Beaverton, OR 97006, USA.


Galactose oxidase is a free radical metalloenzyme containing a novel metalloradical complex, comprised of a protein radical coordinated to a copper ion in the active site. The unusually stable protein radical is formed from the redox-active side chain of a cross-linked tyrosine residue (Tyr-Cys). Biochemical studies on galactose oxidase have revealed a new class of oxidation mechanisms based on this free radical coupled-copper catalytic motif, defining an emerging family of enzymes, the radical-copper oxidases. Isotope kinetics and substrate reaction profiling have provided insight into the elementary steps of substrate oxidation in these enzymes, complementing structural studies on their active site. Galactose oxidase is remarkable in the extent to which free radicals are involved in all aspects of the enzyme function: serving as a key feature of the active site structure, defining the characteristic reactivity of the complex, and directing the biogenesis of the Tyr-Cys cofactor during protein maturation.

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