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Chemistry. 2015 May 11;21(20):7470-9. doi: 10.1002/chem.201500644. Epub 2015 Mar 30.

Structure and mechanism leading to formation of the cysteine sulfinate product complex of a biomimetic cysteine dioxygenase model.

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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Chemie, Brook-Taylor-Strasse 2, 12489 Berlin (Germany), Fax: (+49) 30-2093-6966.


Cysteine dioxygenase is a unique nonheme iron enzyme that is involved in the metabolism of cysteine in the body. It contains an iron active site with an unusual 3-His ligation to the protein, which contrasts with the structural features of common nonheme iron dioxygenases. Recently, some of us reported a truly biomimetic model for this enzyme, namely a trispyrazolylborato iron(II) cysteinato complex, which not only has a structure very similar to the enzyme-substrate complex but also represents a functional model: Treatment of the model with dioxygen leads to cysteine dioxygenation, as shown by isolating the cysteine part of the product in the course of the work-up. However, little is known on the conversion mechanism and, so far, not even the structure of the actual product complex had been characterised, which is also unknown in case of the enzyme. In a multidisciplinary approach including density functional theory calculations and X-ray absorption spectroscopy, we have now determined the structure of the actual sulfinato complex for the first time. The Cys-SO2 (-) functional group was found to be bound in an η(2) -O,O-coordination mode, which, based on the excellent resemblance between model and enzyme, also provides the first support for a corresponding binding mode within the enzymatic product complex. Indeed, this is again confirmed by theory, which had predicted a η(2) -O,O-binding mode for synthetic as well as the natural enzyme.


density functional calculations; enzyme catalysis; enzyme models; oxygenation; reaction mechanisms

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