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FEBS Lett. 1990 Dec 10;276(1-2):189-91.

NADPH-dependent flavoenzymes catalyze one electron reduction of metal ions and molecular oxygen and generate hydroxyl radicals.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, West Virginia University, Morgantown 29506.


This study reports a new property of the important NAD(P)H-dependent flavoenzymes, glutathione reductase, lipoyl dehydrogenase and ferredoxin-NADP+ oxidoreductase, that can catalyze a one electron reduction of metal ions such as chromium(VI) and vanadium(V). During the enzymatic reduction process, molecular oxygen is reduced to H2O2, which reacts with the reduced metal complexes to generate hydroxyl radicals. Since the hydroxyl radicals have been suggested to play an important role in Cr(VI) toxicity, this study provides a basis for a recent observation that Cr(VI) mutagenesis is strongly oxygen dependent. These results also point to an enzymatic pathway for the metabolism of some metal ions and concomitant generation of hydroxyl radicals.

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