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Eur J Biochem. 1997 Dec 15;250(3):625-9.

The 2-His-1-carboxylate facial triad--an emerging structural motif in mononuclear non-heme iron(II) enzymes.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Center for Metals in Biocatalysis, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


A 2-His-1-carboxylate facial triad is a common feature of the active sites in a number of mononuclear non-heme iron(II) enzymes. This structural motif was established crystallographically for five different classes of enzymes and inferred from sequence similarity for two other classes. The 2-His-1-carboxylate facial triad anchors the iron in the active site and at the same time maintains three additional cis-oriented sites. These sites can be used to bind other endogenous ligands or exogenous ligands such as substrate and/or O2, giving the metal center great flexibility to use different mechanistic strategies to perform a variety of chemical transformations.

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