Dioxygen Surprises

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Science  24 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5730, pp. 1876-1877
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113708

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Terrestrial life on Earth depends on the use of dioxygen (O) in enzymatic reactions. In these enzymes, the dioxygen usually binds to iron or copper atoms. In his Perspective, Reedijk discusses current knowledge of the detailed chemical steps by which the dioxygen binds to the metals and catalyzes the enzymatic reactions. He highlights the report by Mirica et al , who have studied a small-molecule mimic of the enzyme tyrosinase. The mechanism by which this mimic catalyzes the hydroxylation of a phenol differs from that postulated for tyrosinase and may be of broader relevance for dioxygen-binding enzymes.