The tetranuclear copper active site of nitrous oxide reductase: the CuZ center

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This review focuses on the novel CuZ center of nitrous oxide reductase, an important enzyme owing to the environmental significance of the reaction it catalyzes, reduction of nitrous oxide, and the unusual nature of its catalytic center, named CuZ. The structure of the CuZ center, the unique tetranuclear copper center found in this enzyme, opened a novel area of research in metallobiochemistry. In the last decade, there has been progress in defining the structure of the CuZ center, characterizing the mechanism of nitrous oxide reduction, and identifying intermediates of this reaction. In addition, the determination of the structure of the CuZ center allowed a structural interpretation of the spectroscopic data, which was supported by theoretical calculations. The current knowledge of the structure, function, and spectroscopic characterization of the CuZ center is described here. We would like to stress that although many questions have been answered, the CuZ center remains a scientific challenge, with many hypotheses still being formed.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)183-194
JournalJBIC Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Cite this