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Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Aug;29(3-4):241-5.

Structures of mammalian cytosolic quinone reductases.

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Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


The metabolism of quinone compounds presents one source of oxidative stress in mammals, as many pathways proceed by mechanisms that generate reactive oxygen species as by-products. One defense against quinone toxicity is the enzyme NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase type 1 (QR1), which metabolizes quinones by a two-electron reduction mechanism, thus averting production of radicals. QR1 is expressed in the cytoplasm of many tissues, and is highly inducible. A closely related homologue, quinone reductase type 2 (QR2), has been identified in several mammalian species. QR2 is also capable of reducing quinones to hydroquinones, but unlike QR1, cannot use NAD(P)H. X-ray crystallographic studies of QR1 and QR2 illustrate that despite their different biochemical properties, these enzymes have very similar three-dimensional structures. In particular, conserved features of the active sites point to the close relationship between these two enzymes.

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