How Iron Activates O2

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Science  14 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5609, pp. 1024-1025
DOI: 10.1126/science.1081792

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Iron enzymes play a key role in many biological processes involving oxygen, from the biosynthesis of DNA to the conversion of electrochemical to chemical energy. In her Perspective, Kovacs highlights two reports that shed light on some of the intermediates that may be involved in reactions promoted by nonheme iron enzymes. Rohde et al . study a chemical analog system, while Karlsson et al . investigate the enzyme naphthalene dioxygenase with x-ray crystallography. By catching some of the fleeting intermediates, the two studies help to understand the enzymatic mechanism of this important group of proteins.