In biology, a heme-Cu center in heme-copper oxidases (HCOs) is used to catalyze the four-electron reduction of oxygen to water, while a heme-nonheme diiron center in nitric oxide reductases (NORs) is employed to catalyze the two-electron reduction of nitric oxide to nitrous oxide. Although much progress has been made in biochemical and biophysical studies of HCOs and NORs, structural features responsible for similarities and differences within the two enzymatic systems remain to be understood. Here, we discuss the progress made in the design and characterization of myoglobin-based enzyme models of HCOs and NORs. In particular, we focus on use of these models to understand the structure-function relations between HCOs and NORs, including the role of nonheme metals, conserved amino acids in the active site, heme types, and hydrogen-bonding networks, in tuning enzymatic activities and total turnovers. Insights gained from these studies are summarized and future directions are proposed.
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- amino acids
- heme-copper oxidases
- nitric oxide reductases