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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 1998 Dec;8(6):749-58.

Active sites of transition-metal enzymes with a focus on nickel.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysik Heinrich-Hoffmann-Strasse 7 60528 Frankfurt Germany.


Since 1995, crystal structures have been determined for many transition-metal enzymes, in particular those containing the rarely used transition metals vanadium, molybdenum, tungsten, manganese, cobalt and nickel. Accordingly, our understanding of how an enzyme uses the unique properties of a specific transition metal has been substantially increased in the past few years. The different functions of nickel in catalysis are highlighted by describing the active sites of six nickel enzymes - methyl-coenyzme M reductase, urease, hydrogenase, superoxide dismutase, carbon monoxide dehydrogenase and acetyl-coenzyme A synthase.

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