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Mol Cell Biochem. 1980 Dec 10;33(1-2):13-24.

Structure-function relations in flavodoxins.


Flavodoxins are low molecular weight, FMN containing, proteins which function as electron transfer agents in a variety of microbial metabolic processes, including nitrogen fixation. Utilizing structural information obtained from x-ray crystal analysis, it has been possible to derive some new and important insights into the relationships which exist between flavin properties and protein environment by comparing the spectroscopic, thermodynamic and kinetic behavior of the flavodoxins with that of free flavin. Thus, for example, a qualitative understanding of the contribution of the protein to flavin redox potentials, semiquinone reactivity and mechanism of electron transfer is beginning to emerge. The highly negative redox potential required for the biochemical activity of the flavodoxins is accomplished by stabilizing the semiquinone via a hydrogen bond to the N-5 position of the flavin and destabilizing the fully-reduced form by constraining it to assume an unfavorable planar conformation. The reactivity of the semiquinone form is lowered by the aforementioned hydrogen bond, as well as by an interaction with a tryptophan residue in the binding site. Electron transfer is accomplished through the exposed dimethylbenzene ring of the bound coenzyme. Although it is not possible at present to determine the extent to which this understanding can be generalized to other flavoproteins, it is clear that a study of the flavodoxins will provide us with at least some of the principles which biological systems have used to modify flavin properties to fulfill a biochemical need.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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