A Comparative Review on the Catalytic Mechanism of Nonheme Iron Hydroxylases and Halogenases

Amy Timmins, Samuel De Visser

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    Enzymatic halogenation and haloperoxidation are unusual processes in biology; however, a range of halogenases and haloperoxidases exist that are able to transfer an aliphatic or aromatic C–H bond into C–Cl/C–Br. Haloperoxidases utilize hydrogen peroxide, and in a reaction with halides (Cl /Br ), they react to form hypohalides (OCl /OBr ) that subsequently react with substrate by halide transfer. There are three types of haloperoxidases, namely the iron-heme, nonheme vanadium, and flavin-dependent haloperoxidases that are reviewed here. In addition, there are the nonheme iron halogenases that show structural and functional similarity to the nonheme iron hydroxylases and form an iron(IV)-oxo active species from a reaction of molecular oxygen with α-ketoglutarate on an iron(II) center. They subsequently transfer a halide (Cl /Br ) to an aliphatic C─H bond. We review the mechanism and function of nonheme iron halogenases and hydroxylases and show recent computational modelling studies of our group on the hectochlorin biosynthesis enzyme and prolyl-4-hydroxylase as examples of nonheme iron halogenases and hydroxylases. These studies have established the catalytic mechanism of these enzymes and show the importance of substrate and oxidant positioning on the stereo-, chemo- and regioselectivity of the reaction that takes place.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number314
    Pages (from-to)314
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


    • Computational modelling
    • Density functional theory
    • Enzyme catalysis
    • Inorganic reaction mechanisms
    • Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics


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