Protein hydroxylation: prolyl 4-hydroxylase, an enzyme with four cosubstrates and a multifunctional subunit

FASEB J. 1989 Mar;3(5):1609-17.


Prolyl 4-hydroxylase (EC catalyzes the formation of 4-hydroxyproline in collagens by the hydroxylation of proline residues in X-Pro-Gly sequences. The reaction requires Fe2+, 2-oxoglutarate, O2, and ascorbate and involves an oxidative decarboxylation of 2-oxoglutarate. Ascorbate is not consumed during most catalytic cycles, but the enzyme also catalyzes decarboxylation of 2-oxoglutarate without subsequent hydroxylation, and ascorbate is required as a specific alternative oxygen acceptor in such uncoupled reaction cycles. A number of compounds inhibit prolyl 4-hydroxylase competitively with respect to some of its cosubstrates or the peptide substrate, and recently many suicide inactivators have also been described. Such inhibitors and inactivators are of considerable interest, because the prolyl 4-hydroxylase reaction would seem a particularly suitable target for chemical regulation of the excessive collagen formation found in patients with various fibrotic diseases. The active prolyl 4-hydroxylase is an alpha 2 beta 2 tetramer, consisting of two different types of inactive monomer and probably containing two catalytic sites per tetramer. The large catalytic site may be cooperatively built up of both the alpha and beta subunits, but the alpha subunit appears to contribute the major part. The beta subunit has been found to be identical to the enzyme protein disulfide isomerase and a major cellular thyroid hormone-binding protein and shows partial homology with a phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C, thioredoxins, and the estrogen-binding domain of the estrogen receptor. The COOH-terminus of this beta subunit has the amino acid sequence Lys-Asp-Glu-Leu, which was recently suggested to be necessary for the retention of a polypeptide within the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum. The alpha subunit does not have this COOH-terminal sequence, and thus one function of the beta subunit in the prolyl 4-hydroxylase tetramer appears to be to retain the enzyme within this cell organelle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Catalysis
  • Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Hydroxylation
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase / genetics
  • Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Proteins
  • Procollagen-Proline Dioxygenase