The enzymatic activation of coenzyme B12

Dalton Transactions : an International Journal of Inorganic Chemistry
Kenneth L Brown


The enzymatic "activation" of coenzyme B12 (5'-deoxyadenosylcobalamin, AdoCbl), in which homolysis of the carbon-cobalt bond of the coenzyme is catalyzed by some 10(9)- to 10(14)-fold, remains one of the outstanding problems in bioinorganic chemistry. Mechanisms which feature the enzymatic manipulation of the axial Co-N bond length have been investigated by theoretical and experimental methods. Classical mechanochemical triggering, in which steric compression of the long axial Co-N bond leads to increased upward folding of the corrin ring and stretching of the Co-C bond is found to be feasible by molecular modeling, but the strain induced in the Co-C bond seems to be too small to account for the observed catalytic power. The modeling study shows that the effect is a steric one which depends on the size of the axial nucleotide base, as substitution of imidazole (Im) for the normal 5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole (Bzm) axial base decreases the Co-C bond labilization considerably. An experimental test was thus devised using the coenzyme analog with Im in place of Bzm (Ado(Im)Cbl). Studies of the enzymatic activation of this analog by the B12-dependent ribonucleoside triphosphate reductase from Lactobacillus leichmannii coupled with stud...Continue Reading


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