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Chem Rev. 2019 Mar 27;119(6):4413-4462. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.8b00405. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

Pulse Radiolysis Studies for Mechanism in Biochemical Redox Reactions.

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The Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research , Osaka University , Mihogaoka 8-1 , Ibaraki , Osaka 567-0047 , Japan.


Pulse radiolysis is a powerful method for generating highly reduced or oxidized species and free radicals. Combined with fast time-resolved spectroscopic measurement, we can monitor the reactions of intermediate species on time scales ranging from picoseconds to seconds. The application of pulse radiolysis to water generates hydrated electrons (eaq-) and specific radicals, rendering this technique useful for investigating a number of biological redox processes. The first pulse radiolysis redox investigations explored in this review involved intramolecular electron transfer processes in protein with multiple electron-accepting sites. Pulse radiolysis enabled direct monitoring of the internal electron transfer rates and the distribution of electrons within proteins. Structural information from X-ray data has allowed analysis of the rate constants and their activation parameters in relation to the mechanisms with current theoretical treatments. The second set of pulse radiolysis redox investigations explored here concerned the intermediates of enzyme reactions after redox reactions. Pulse radiolysis allowed the extremely rapid donation of electrons to a redox center in a protein. It makes it possible to observe the unstable intermediates after the reduction and the following subsequent steps. For example, the intermediates generated through the one-electron reduction of oxygenated hemoproteins, such as cytochrome P450 and nitric oxide synthase, were characterized. Interestingly, ligand exchange can occur upon the reduction of heme iron, in which different amino acid residues bind to heme in the ferrous and ferric states, respectively. We directly observed the ligand-switching intermediates of bacterial CooA, a CO sensor, and bacterial iron response regulator protein. These ligand exchange processes are physiologically important for regulating the electrode potential and effective formation of superoxide anion or HO. The third set of pulse radiolysis redox investigations explored in this review concerns free-radical processes in biological systems. Free radicals are produced in cells and organisms in a variety of processes. The cell has developed special and very effective machinery for controlling and detoxifying reactive radicals. Radiation-generated radicals allow studies of the reactions between specific radicals and solutes, often revealing the mechanisms underlying the initial and subsequent reactions. The crucial contribution was made using pulse radiolysis techniques and knowledge of the identities, properties, and reactions of radicals. These radicals include superoxide (O2•-), nitric monoxide (NO), ascorbate, urate, and protein radicals. This review focuses on the reactions of these radicals and their physiological functions.

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