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Phytochemistry. 2004 Feb;65(3):249-59.

Horseradish peroxidase: a modern view of a classic enzyme.

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Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3DS, UK.


Horseradish peroxidase is an important heme-containing enzyme that has been studied for more than a century. In recent years new information has become available on the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme and its catalytic intermediates, mechanisms of catalysis and the function of specific amino acid residues. Site-directed mutagenesis and directed evolution techniques are now used routinely to investigate the structure and function of horseradish peroxidase and offer the opportunity to develop engineered enzymes for practical applications in natural product and fine chemicals synthesis, medical diagnostics and bioremediation. A combination of horseradish peroxidase and indole-3-acetic acid or its derivatives is currently being evaluated as an agent for use in targeted cancer therapies. Physiological roles traditionally associated with the enzyme that include indole-3-acetic acid metabolism, cross-linking of biological polymers and lignification are becoming better understood at the molecular level, but the involvement of specific horseradish peroxidase isoenzymes in these processes is not yet clearly defined. Progress in this area should result from the identification of the entire peroxidase gene family of Arabidopsis thaliana, which has now been completed.

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