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Mol Microbiol. 2010 Mar;75(6):1529-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07076.x. Epub 2010 Feb 17.

The IsdG-family of haem oxygenases degrades haem to a novel chromophore.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.


Enzymatic haem catabolism by haem oxygenases is conserved from bacteria to humans and proceeds through a common mechanism leading to the formation of iron, carbon monoxide and biliverdin. The first members of a novel class of haem oxygenases were recently identified in Staphylococcus aureus (IsdG and IsdI) and were termed the IsdG-family of haem oxygenases. Enzymes of the IsdG-family form tertiary structures distinct from those of the canonical haem oxygenase family, suggesting that IsdG-family members degrade haem via a unique reaction mechanism. Herein we report that the IsdG-family of haem oxygenases degrade haem to the oxo-bilirubin chromophore staphylobilin. We also present the crystal structure of haem-bound IsdI in which haem ruffling and constrained binding of oxygen is consistent with cleavage of the porphyrin ring at the beta- or delta-meso carbons. Combined, these data establish that the IsdG-family of haem oxygenases degrades haem to a novel chromophore distinct from biliverdin.

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