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Adv Microb Physiol. 2004;49:77-129.

The role of the flavodiiron proteins in microbial nitric oxide detoxification.

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Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Apartado 127 Avenida da República (EAN), 2781-901 Oeiras, Portugal.


The flavodiiron proteins (first named as A-type flavoproteins) constitute a large superfamily of enzymes, widespread among anaerobic and facultative anaerobic prokaryotes, from both the Archaea and Bacteria domains. Noticeably, genes encoding for homologous enzymes are also present in the genomes of some pathogenic and anaerobic amitochondriate protozoa. The fingerprint of this enzyme family is the conservation of a two-domain structural core, built by a metallo-beta-lactamase-like domain, at the N-terminal region, harbouring a non-heme diiron site, and a flavodoxin-like domain, containing one FMN moiety. These enzymes have a significant nitric oxide reductase activity, and there is increasing evidence that they are involved in microbial resistance to nitric oxide. In this review, we will discuss available data for this novel family of enzymes, including their physicochemical properties, structural and phylogenetic analyses, enzymatic properties and the molecular genetic approaches so far used to tackle their function.

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