The enzyme isopenicillin N synthase (IPNS) installs the β-lactam and thiazolidine rings of the penicillin core into the linear tripeptide l-δ-aminoadipoyl-l-Cys-d-Val (ACV) on the pathways to a number of important antibacterial drugs. A classic set of enzymological and crystallographic studies by Baldwin and co-workers established that this overall four-electron oxidation occurs by a sequence of two oxidative cyclizations, with the β-lactam ring being installed first and the thiazolidine ring second. Each phase requires cleavage of an aliphatic C-H bond of the substrate: the pro-S-CCys,β-H bond for closure of the β-lactam ring, and the CVal,β-H bond for installation of the thiazolidine ring. IPNS uses a mononuclear non-heme-iron(II) cofactor and dioxygen as cosubstrate to cleave these C-H bonds and direct the ring closures. Despite the intense scrutiny to which the enzyme has been subjected, the identities of the oxidized iron intermediates that cleave the C-H bonds have been addressed only computationally; no experimental insight into their geometric or electronic structures has been reported. In this work, we have employed a combination of transient-state-kinetic and spectroscopic methods, together with the specifically deuterium-labeled substrates, A[d2-C]V and AC[d8-V], to identify both C-H-cleaving intermediates. The results show that they are high-spin Fe(III)-superoxo and high-spin Fe(IV)-oxo complexes, respectively, in agreement with published mechanistic proposals derived computationally from Baldwin's founding work.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry