Dennard and I showed very quickly that the usual acids and bases,

Dennard and I showed very quickly that the usual acids and bases, including metal ions and their complexes, at all pH values, were very poor catalysts. The effective simple catalysts

were quite peculiarly selenite, tellurite, arsenite and iodate [14]. The clear indication was that CO2 could learn more be activated only if binding was by a concerted approach of the carbon to the catalyst acid centre such as selenium and its oxygen to that of an acid centre, here OH or > NH. Just before this time Lindskog published the properties of metal ion substituted carbon anhydrase [15], including both spectroscopic and catalytic properties. Quite outstandingly only cobalt in carbonic anhydrase was of similar catalytic activity to zinc. We showed that the cobalt visible

absorption spectrum was that of the five coordinate ion in certain complexes and this matched the properties of the enzymes to the metal ions, including the low pKa. The cobalt and the zinc enzymes had at least one ionised water molecule attached to the metal ion. Moreover the cobalt geometry was flexible in that addition of inhibitors such as HS− which bound strongly to the metal ion, gave rise to a typical tetrahedral cobalt spectrum. The flexible geometry between 4- and 5-coordination which we observed is typical of cobalt and zinc only. The sulphide bound cobalt also showed a charge transfer band at shorter wavelengths which was absent in the parent cobalt’s enzyme. These observations together with Ribociclib in vitro those on the model reactions led us

to propose an outline structure, three histidines bound to zinc (cobalt) and two water molecules. A mechanism of catalysis based on concerted activation by the carbon anhydrase, using zinc and a bound acid such as OH−as in the model catalysis by selenite [16]. I give this example in some detail as it is a direct application of the method of isomorphous metal ion replacement to enzyme studies as proposed by Vallee and myself [2]. Many of these deductions were confirmed later by the superior work of Lindskog using X-ray crystal structure determination [17]. The unusual physical properties of this and Rutecarpine many other metal ions, especially copper, and the anomalous pKa values of active site metal and non-metal groups in proteins led Vallee and myself to the concept of the entatic state — a state of unusual energy and configuration1[18]. This turned out to be a seminal contribution to enzymology. It is used and analysed by many scientists to this day. Not long after these findings between 1955 and 1970 more zinc enzymes were identified apart from carboxypeptidase, alcohol dehydrogenase and carbonic anhydrase, especially by Vallee. They included an RNA-synthetase, very strongly indicating that Vallee had been correct in postulating that zinc had a major role in organisms. Interestingly all these enzymes had firmly bound non-exchangeable zinc which had allowed their purification and were present in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

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