The enzymes of biotin dependent CO2 metabolism: What structures reveal about their reaction mechanisms


  • Dedicated in memory of Henry A. Lardy.


Biotin is the major cofactor involved in carbon dioxide metabolism. Indeed, biotin-dependent enzymes are ubiquitous in nature and are involved in a myriad of metabolic processes including fatty acid synthesis and gluconeogenesis. The cofactor, itself, is composed of a ureido ring, a tetrahydrothiophene ring, and a valeric acid side chain. It is the ureido ring that functions as the CO2 carrier. A complete understanding of biotin-dependent enzymes is critically important for translational research in light of the fact that some of these enzymes serve as targets for anti-obesity agents, antibiotics, and herbicides. Prior to 1990, however, there was a dearth of information regarding the molecular architectures of biotin-dependent enzymes. In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of three-dimensional structures reported for these proteins. Here we review our current understanding of the structures and functions of biotin-dependent enzymes. In addition, we provide a critical analysis of what these structures have and have not revealed about biotin-dependent catalysis.