Electron transfer by diflavin reductases

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Apr 8;1698(1):1-26. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2003.10.003.


Diflavin reductases are enzymes which emerged as a gene fusion of ferredoxin (flavodoxin) reductase and flavodoxin. The enzymes of this family tightly bind two flavin cofactors, FAD and FMN, and catalyze transfer of the reducing equivalents from the two-electron donor NADPH to a variety of one-electron acceptors. Cytochrome P450 reductase (P450R), a flavoprotein subunit of sulfite reductase (SiR), and flavoprotein domains of naturally occurring flavocytochrome fusion enzymes like nitric oxide synthases (NOS) and the fatty acid hydroxylase from Bacillus megaterium are some of the enzymes of this family. In this review the results of the last decade of research are summarized, and some earlier results are reevaluated as well. The kinetic mechanism of cytochrome c reduction is analyzed in light of other results on flavoprotein interactions with nucleotides and cytochromes. The roles of the binding sites of the isoalloxazine rings of the flavin cofactors and conformational changes of the protein in electron transfer are discussed. It is proposed that minor conformational changes during catalysis can potentiate properties of the redox centers during the catalytic turnover. A function of the aromatic residue that shields the isoalloxazine ring of the FAD is also proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coenzymes / metabolism
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Electron Transport / physiology
  • Flavins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / chemistry
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / isolation & purification
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Swine


  • Coenzymes
  • Flavins
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase