Of the eight known nickel enzymes, all but glyoxylase I catalyze the use and/or production of gases central to the global carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles. Nickel appears to have been selected for its plasticity in coordination and redox chemistry and is able to cycle through three redox states (1+, 2+, 3+) and to catalyze reactions spanning approximately 1.5 V. This minireview focuses on the catalytic mechanisms of nickel enzymes, with an emphasis on the role(s) of the metal center. The metal centers vary from mononuclear to complex metal clusters and catalyze simple hydrolytic to multistep redox reactions.
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