Max Planck Fellows
Mechanism of Enzymes from Anaerobic Bacteria (Prof. W. Buckel)
The group of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Buckel focuses on the mechanisms of enzymes from anaerobic bacteria. The absence of oxygen enables anaerobes to use radical enzymes. The radicals are generated either by complex cofactors such as coenzyme B12 or by just transient one-electron oxidation or reduction. In all cases the radical or the electronis recycled after each turnover. Such enzymes that stabilize radical intermediates open a new chapter of chemical biology. Recently, enzymes were discovered that catalyze electron bifurcations, in which an exergonic reduction drives an endergonic reduction. This new reaction explains the long-time elusive energy metabolism of strict anaerobes, especially those of fermentative bacteria and cytochrome-less methanogens.