Reduction of hydrogen peroxide in gram-negative bacteria – bacterial peroxidases

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Bacteria display an array of enzymes to detoxify reactive oxygen species that cause damage to DNA and to other biomolecules leading to cell death. Hydrogen peroxide is one of these species, with endogenous and exogenous sources, such as lactic acid bacteria, oxidative burst of the immune system or chemical reactions at oxic-anoxic interfaces. The enzymes that detoxify hydrogen peroxide will be the focus of this review, with special emphasis on bacterial peroxidases that reduce hydrogen peroxide to water. Bacterial peroxidases are periplasmic cytochromes with either two or three c-type haems, which have been classified as classical and non-classical bacterial peroxidases, respectively. Most of the studies have been focus on the classical bacterial peroxidases, showing the presence of a reductive activation in the presence of calcium ions. Mutagenesis studies have clarified the catalytic mechanism of this enzyme and were used to propose an intramolecular electron transfer pathway, with far less being known about the intermolecular electron transfer that occurs between reduced electron donors and the enzyme. The physiological function of these enzymes was not very clear until it was shown, for the non-classical bacterial peroxidase, that this enzyme is required for the bacteria to use hydrogen peroxide as terminal electron acceptor under anoxic conditions. These non-classical bacterial peroxidases are quinol peroxidases that do not require reductive activation but need calcium ions to attain maximum activity and share similar catalytic intermediates with the classical bacterial peroxidases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-464
Number of pages50
JournalAdvances in Microbial Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Activation mechanism
  • Bacterial peroxidase
  • c-Type cytochrome
  • Catalytic mechanism
  • Electron transfer
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Immune system
  • Peroxide reduction
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Three-haem peroxidases


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