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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2001 Jan 1;385(1):170-8.

Quantitative structure-activity relationships in two-electron reduction of nitroaromatic compounds by Enterobacter cloacae NAD(P)H:nitroreductase.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Vilnius, Lithuania.


Enterobacter cloacae NAD(P)H:nitroreductase (NR; EC catalyzes the reduction of a series of nitroaromatic compounds with steady-state bimolecular rate constants (kcat/Km) ranging from 10(4) to 10(7) M(-1) s(-1). In agreement with a previously proposed scheme of two-step four-electron reduction of nitroaromatics by NR (Koder, R. L., and Miller, A.-F. (1998) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1387, 395-405), 2 mol NADH per mole mononitrocompound were oxidized. An oxidation of excess NADH by polinitrobenzenes, including explosives 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and 2,4,6-trinitrophenyl-N-methylnitramine (tetryl), has been observed as a slower secondary process, accompanied by O2 consumption. This type of "redox cycling" was not related to reactions of nitroaromatic anion-radicals, but was caused by the autoxidation of relatively stable reaction products. The initial reduction of tetryl and other polinitrophenyl-N-nitramines by E. cloacae NR was analogous to a two-step four-electron reduction mechanism of TNT and other nitroaromatics. The logs kcat/Km of all the compounds examined exhibited parabolic dependence on their enthalpies of single-electron or two-electron (hydride) reduction, obtained by quantum mechanical calculations. This type of quantitative structure-activity relationship shows that the reactivity of nitroaromatics towards E. cloacae nitroreductase depends mainly on their hydride accepting properties, but not on their particular structure, and does not exclude the possibility of multistep hydride transfer.

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