Mammalian flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) as a source of hydrogen peroxide

Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 May 1;89(1):141-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2014.02.006. Epub 2014 Feb 19.


Flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) oxygenates drugs/xenobiotics containing a soft nucleophile through a C4a hydroperoxy-FAD intermediate. Human FMOs 1, 2 and 3, expressed in Sf9 insect microsomes, released 30-50% of O₂ consumed as H₂O₂ upon addition of NADPH. Addition of substrate had little effect on H₂O₂ production. Two common FMO2 (the major isoform in the lung) genetic polymorphisms, S195L and N413K, were examined for generation of H₂O₂. FMO2 S195L exhibited higher "leakage", producing much greater amounts of H₂O₂, than ancestral FMO2 (FMO2.1) or the N413K variant. S195L was distinct in that H₂O₂ generation was much higher in the absence of substrate. Addition of superoxide dismutase did not impact H₂O₂ release. Catalase did not reduce levels of H₂O₂ with either FMO2.1 or FMO3 but inhibited H₂O₂ generated by FMO2 allelic variants N413K and S195L. These data are consistent with FMO molecular models. S195L resides in the GxGxSG/A NADP(+) binding motif, in which serine is highly conserved (76/89 known FMOs). We hypothesize that FMO, especially allelic variants such as FMO2 S195L, may enhance the toxicity of xenobiotics such as thioureas/thiocarbamides both by generation of sulfenic and sulfinic acid metabolites and enhanced release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the form of H₂O₂.

Keywords: Flavin-containing monooxygenase; Genetic polymorphism; Hydrogen peroxide; Oxidative stress; Pulmonary FMO2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism*
  • Oxygenases / metabolism*
  • Sf9 Cells


  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Oxygenases
  • dimethylaniline monooxygenase (N-oxide forming)