Light-dependent or light-stimulated catalysis provides a multitude of perspectives for implementation in technological or biomedical applications. Despite substantial progress made in the field of photobiocatalysis, the number of usable light-responsive enzymes is still very limited. Flavoproteins have exceptional potential for photocatalytic applications because the name-giving cofactor intrinsically features light-dependent reactivity, undergoing photoreduction with a variety of organic electron donors. However, in the vast majority of these enzymes, photoreactivity of the enzyme-bound flavin is limited or even suppressed. Here, we present a flavoprotein monooxygenase in which catalytic activity is controllable by blue light illumination. The reaction depends on the presence of nicotinamide nucleotide-type electron donors, which do not support the reaction in the absence of light. Employing various experimental approaches, we demonstrate that catalysis depends on a protein-mediated photoreduction of the flavin cofactor, which proceeds via a radical mechanism and a transient semiquinone intermediate.
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