Flavin cofactors are widely used by enzymes to catalyze a broad range of chemical reactions. Traditionally, flavins in enzymes are regarded as redox centers, which enable enzymes to catalyze the oxidation or reduction of substrates. However, a new class of flavoenzyme has emerged over the past quarter century in which the flavin functions as a catalytic center in a non-redox reaction. Here we introduce the unifying concept of flavin hot spots to understand and categorize the mechanisms and reactivities of both traditional and noncanonical flavoenzymes. The major hot spots of reactivity include the N5, C4a, and C4O atoms of the isoalloxazine, and the 2′ hydroxyl of the ribityl chain. The role of hot spots in traditional flavoenzymes, such as monooxygenases, is briefly reviewed. A more detailed description of flavin hot spots in noncanonical flavoenzymes is provided, with a focus on UDP-galactopyranose mutase, where the N5 functions as a nucleophile that attacks the anomeric carbon atom of the substrate. Recent results from mechanistic enzymology, kinetic crystallography, and computational chemistry provide a complete picture of the chemical mechanism of UDP-galactopyranose mutase.
Sobrado, P., & Tanner, J. J. (2017, October 15). Multiple functionalities of reduced flavin in the non-redox reaction catalyzed by UDP-galactopyranose mutase. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Academic Press Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2017.06.015