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J Biol Chem. 1991 Feb 15;266(5):3198-207.

Spinach glycolate oxidase and yeast flavocytochrome b2 are structurally homologous and evolutionarily related enzymes with distinctly different function and flavin mononucleotide binding.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.


A comparison of the three-dimensional structures of the flavin mononucleotide (FMN)-dependent enzymes glycolate oxidase, flavocytochrome b2, and trimethylamine dehydrogenase is presented. Their flavin-binding domains all have the same structural motif, the 8-fold beta/alpha-barrel domain, which is also present in a large number of other enzymes. FMN is bound in a similar fashion in all three enzymes. The binding site is at the carboxyl-terminal end of the eight beta-strands of the barrel where the active site is invariably found in this type of domain structure. The similarity of the structures of glycolate oxidase and flavocytochrome b2 extends to the loop regions and even outside the beta/alpha-barrels with a root mean square deviation of 0.93 A for 311 superimposed C alpha-atoms and with a sequence identity of 37%. A detailed analysis of their active sites shows, however, that the orientation of FMN is significantly different in the two structures due to different conformations of residues in the end of strand one. Thus, in flavocytochrome b2 a hydrogen bond is formed between the FMN N-5 position and the main chain amide of Ala-198, while in glycolate oxidase, the ring system is tilted away from the strand, creating a pocket on the re-side of the FMN ring where a water molecule is bound. Model building shows that this site could accommodate the hydroperoxide moiety of a FMN-4a-hydroperoxide intermediate. Thus, in the course of evolution, a few mutations in, and close to, the active sites have fine tuned these enzymes to exert their specific functions as an oxidase or transferase, respectively.

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