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J Biol Chem. 2004 Sep 17;279(38):39479-84. Epub 2004 Jul 17.

Radical rebound mechanism in cytochrome P-450-catalyzed hydroxylation of the multifaceted radical clocks alpha- and beta-thujone.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143-2280, USA.


Alpha-thujone (1alpha) and beta-thujone (1beta) were used to investigate the mechanism of hydrocarbon hydroxylation by cytochromes P-450(cam) (CYP101) and P-450(BM3) (CYP102). The thujones are hydroxylated by these enzymes at various positions, but oxidation at C-4 gives rise to both rearranged and unrearranged hydroxylation products. Rearranged products result from the formation of a radical intermediate that can undergo either inversion of stereochemistry or ring opening of the adjacent cyclopropane ring. Both of these rearrangements, as well as a C-4 desaturation reaction, are observed. The ring opening clock gives oxygen rebound rates that range from 0.2 x 10(10) to 2.8 x 10(10) s(-1) for the different substrate and enzyme combinations. The C-4 inversion reaction provides independent confirmation of a radical intermediate. The phenol product expected if a C-4 cationic rather than radical intermediate is formed is not detected. The results are consistent with a two-state process and provide support for a radical rebound but not a hydroperoxide insertion mechanism for cytochrome P-450 hydroxylation.

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