Enzymes that produce retinal and related apocarotenoids constitute a sequence- and thus structure-related family, a member of which was analyzed by x-ray diffraction. This member is an oxygenase and contains an Fe2+-4-His arrangement at the axis of a seven-bladed ß-propeller chain fold covered by a dome formed by six large loops. The Fe2+ is accessible through a long nonpolar tunnel that holds a carotenoid derivative in one of the crystals. On binding, three consecutive double bonds of this carotenoid changed from a straight all-trans to a cranked cis-trans-cis conformation. The remaining trans bond is located at the dioxygen-ligated Fe2+ and cleaved by oxygen.
Science (2005) 308 (5719) 267-269 [doi: 10.1126/science.1108965]