Swinging arms and swinging domains in multifunctional enzymes: catalytic machines for multistep reactions

Annu Rev Biochem. 2000;69:961-1004. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.69.1.961.


Multistep chemical reactions are increasingly seen as important in a growing number of complex biotransformations. Covalently attached prosthetic groups or swinging arms, and their associated protein domains, are essential to the mechanisms of active-site coupling and substrate channeling in a number of the multifunctional enzyme systems responsible. The protein domains, for which the posttranslational machinery in the cell is highly specific, are crucially important, contributing to the processes of molecular recognition that define and protect the substrates and the catalytic intermediates. The domains have novel folds and move by virtue of conformationally flexible linker regions that tether them to other components of their respective multienzyme complexes. Structural and mechanistic imperatives are becoming apparent as the assembly pathways and the coupling of multistep reactions catalyzed by these dauntingly complex molecular machines are unraveled.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Biotin / metabolism
  • Catalysis
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Multienzyme Complexes / chemistry*
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism*
  • Pantetheine / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Thioctic Acid / metabolism


  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Pantetheine
  • Biotin
  • Thioctic Acid