Structure and mechanism of catalytic action of active sites of nitrogenase.

G. I. Likhtenshtein, R. I. Gvozdev, L. A. Levchenko, L. A. Syrtsova

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A review of the data on the macromolecular structure of nitrogenase and its individual fragments, the electronic structure of iron- and molybdenum-containing components of the active site, and the functional groups of the ATPase site of the enzyme is given. Reactions of N2 reduction, ATP hydrolysis, and H2 evolution, inhibitory processes, and electron transport reactions catalyzed by the enzyme are analyzed within the framework of a general kinetic model. The results of an investigation of the location of the iron-containing cluster system of electron transport, the ATPase site, and the N2-binding and reducing site on the nitrogenase macro-molecule with the aid of a new complex approach including methods of spin, luminescent, and electron-dense labeling are described. On the basis of a number of physicochemical and kinetic data a model of the structure and mechanism of action of the active site of nitrogenase is proposed, which assumes four-step electron transfer from an external reducing agent along the chain of ferredoxin-like iron-containing clusters of the enzyme and an increase in the reducing potential of the iron clusters through the energy of ATP hydrolysis and four-electron reduction in a binuclear molybdenum-containing complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-142
Number of pages18
JournalBiology bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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