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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Jan;66(1):170-5.

Oxygen activation during oxidation of methoxyhydroquinones by laccase from Pleurotus eryngii.

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Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, E-28006 Madrid, Spain.


Oxygen activation during oxidation of the lignin-derived hydroquinones 2-methoxy-1,4-benzohydroquinone (MBQH(2)) and 2, 6-dimethoxy-1,4-benzohydroquinone (DBQH(2)) by laccase from Pleurotus eryngii was examined. Laccase oxidized DBQH(2) more efficiently than it oxidized MBQH(2); both the affinity and maximal velocity of oxidation were higher for DBQH(2) than for MBQH(2). Autoxidation of the semiquinones produced by laccase led to the activation of oxygen, producing superoxide anion radicals (Q(*-) + O(2) <--> Q + O(2)(*-)). As this reaction is reversible, its existence was first noted in studies of the effect of systems consuming and producing O(2)(*-) on quinone formation rates. Then, the production of H(2)O(2) in laccase reactions, as a consequence of O(2)(*-) dismutation, confirmed that semiquinones autoxidized. The highest H(2)O(2) levels were obtained with DBQH(2), indicating that DBQ(*-) autoxidized to a greater extent than did MBQ(*-). Besides undergoing autoxidation, semiquinones were found to be transformed into quinones via dismutation and laccase oxidation. Two ways of favoring semiquinone autoxidation over dismutation and laccase oxidation were increasing the rate of O(2)(*-) consumption with superoxide dismutase (SOD) and recycling of quinones with diaphorase (a reductase catalyzing the divalent reduction of quinones). These two strategies made the laccase reaction conditions more natural, since O(2)(*-), besides undergoing dismutation, reacts with Mn(2+), Fe(3+), and aromatic radicals. In addition, quinones are continuously reduced by the mycelium of white-rot fungi. The presence of SOD in laccase reactions increased the extent of autoxidation of 100 microM concentrations of MBQ(*-) and DBQ(*-) from 4.5 to 30.6% and from 19.6 to 40.0%, respectively. With diaphorase, the extent of MBQ(*-) autoxidation rose to 13.8% and that of DBQ(*-) increased to 39.9%.

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