Phenylacetyl-CoA:acceptor oxidoreductase, a membrane-bound molybdenum-iron-sulfur enzyme involved in anaerobic metabolism of phenylalanine in the denitrifying bacterium Thauera aromatica

Eur J Biochem. 1999 Jun;262(2):507-15. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1327.1999.00399.x.


Phenylacetic acids are common intermediates in the microbial metabolism of various aromatic substrates including phenylalanine. In the denitrifying bacterium Thauera aromatica phenylacetate is oxidized, under anoxic conditions, to the common intermediate benzoyl-CoA via the intermediates phenylacetyl-CoA and phenylglyoxylate (benzoylformate). The enzyme that catalyzes the four-electron oxidation of phenylacetyl-CoA has been purified from this bacterium and studied. The enzyme preparation catalyzes the reaction phenylacetyl-CoA + 2 quinone + 2 H2O --> phenylglyoxylate + 2 quinone H2 + CoASH. Phenylacetyl-CoA:acceptor oxidoreductase is a membrane-bound molybdenum-iron-sulfur protein. The purest preparations contained three subunits of 93, 27, and 26 kDa. Ubiquinone is most likely to act as the electron acceptor, and the oxygen atom introduced into the product is derived from water. The protein preparations contained 0.66 mol Mo, 30 mol Fe, and 25 mol acid-labile sulfur per mol of native enzyme, assuming a native molecular mass of 280 kDa. Phenylglyoxylyl-CoA, but not mandelyl-CoA, was observed as a free intermediate. All enzyme preparations also catalyzed the subsequent hydrolytic release of coenzyme A from phenylglyoxylyl-CoA but not from phenylacetyl-CoA. The enzyme is reversibly inactivated by a low concentration of cyanide, but is remarkably stable with respect to oxygen. This new member of the molybdoproteins represents the first example of an enzyme which catalyzes the alpha-oxidation of a CoA-activated carboxylic acid without utilizing molecular oxygen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Catalysis
  • Cell-Free System
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cyanides / pharmacology
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases / chemistry
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases / isolation & purification
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenylalanine / metabolism*


  • Cyanides
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phenylalanine
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases
  • phenylacetyl-CoA - acceptor oxidoreductase