PerspectiveBiochemistry

Not an Oxidase, But a Peroxidase

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Science  22 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6161, pp. 943-944
DOI: 10.1126/science.1247233

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Summary

Fosfomycin (see the figure, panel A) is a deceptively simple antibiotic that is clinically effective for the treatment of gastrointestinal and lower urinary tract infections (1). The biological target of this compound is the bacterial enzyme MurA, which plays a key role in bacterial cell wall biosynthesis. On page 991 of this issue, Wang et al. (2) report that a key step in the biosynthesis of fosfomycin requires hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) rather than molecular oxygen (O2). This discovery clarifies how the strained epoxide ring of fosfomycin is synthesized by bacteria and enhances understanding of the catalytic repertoire of iron-activated enzymes.