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Keywords:

  • dehydroalanine;
  • enzyme catalysis;
  • histidine;
  • reaction mechanisms
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Not the α-amino group but the 5-position of the imidazole ring functions as a nucleophile towards the prosthetic dehydroalanine residue in the deamination of histidine catalyzed by histidine ammonia lyase (HAL) [Eq. (a)]. The results discussed here strongly support this proposal.