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Nat Chem Biol. 2007 Feb;3(2):113-6. Epub 2007 Jan 14.

Two interconverting Fe(IV) intermediates in aliphatic chlorination by the halogenase CytC3.

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Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Ave., Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Enzymatic incorporation of a halogen atom is a common feature in the biosyntheses of more than 4,500 natural products. Halogenation of unactivated carbon centers in the biosyntheses of several compounds of nonribosomal peptide origin is carried out by a class of mononuclear nonheme iron enzymes that require alpha-ketoglutarate (alphaKG, 1), chloride and oxygen. To investigate the ability of these enzymes to functionalize unactivated methyl groups, we characterized the chlorination of the gamma-methyl substituent of L-2-aminobutyric acid (L-Aba, 2) attached to the carrier protein CytC2 by iron halogenase (CytC3) from soil Streptomyces sp. We identified an intermediate state comprising two high-spin Fe(IV) complexes in rapid equilibrium. At least one of the Fe(IV) complexes abstracts hydrogen from the substrate. The demonstration that chlorination proceeds through an Fe(IV) intermediate that cleaves a C-H bond reveals the mechanistic similarity of aliphatic halogenases to the iron- and alphaKG-dependent hydroxylases.

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