Bioorganometallic mechanism of action, and inhibition, of IspH

Weixue Wang, Ke Wang, Yi Liang Liu, Joo Hwan No, Jikun Li, Mark J. Nilges, Eric Oldfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have investigated the mechanism of action of Aquifex aeolicus IspH [E-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl diphosphate (HMBPP) reductase], together with its inhibition, using a combination of site-directed mutagenesis (K M;Vmax), EPR and 1H, 2H, 13C, 31P, and 57Fe-electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectroscopy. On addition of HMBPP to an (unreactive) E126A IspH mutant, a reaction intermediate forms that has a very similar EPR spectrum to those seen previously with the HMBPP "parent" molecules, ethylene and allyl alcohol, bound to a nitrogenase FeMo cofactor. The EPR spectrum is broadened on 57Fe labeling and there is no evidence for the formation of allyl radicals. When combined with ENDOR spectroscopy, the results indicate formation of an organometallic species with HMBPP, a π?σ "metallacycle" or η2-alkenyl complex. The complex is poised to interact with H+ from E126 (and H124) in reduced wt IspH, resulting in loss of water and formation of an η1-allyl complex. After reduction, this forms an η3-allyl π-complex (i.e. containing an allyl anion) that on protonation (at C2 or C4) results in product formation. We find that alkyne diphosphates (such as propargyl diphosphate) are potent IspH inhibitors and likewise form metallacycle complexes, as evidenced by 1H, 2H, and 13C ENDOR, where hyperfine couplings of approximately 6 MHz for 13C and 10 MHz for 1H, are observed. Overall, the results are of broad general interest because they provide new insights into IspH catalysis and inhibition, involving organometallic species, and may be applicable to other Fe4S 4-containing proteins, such as IspG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4522-4527
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 9 2010


  • Enzyme inhibition
  • Iron-sulfur protein
  • Isoprenoid biosynthesis
  • Nonmevalonate pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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