The reaction of flavoenzymes with oxygen remains a fascinating area of research because of its relevance for reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Several exciting recent studies provide consistent mechanistic clues about the specific functional and structural properties of the oxidase and monooxygenase flavoenzymatic systems. Specifically, the spatial arrangement of the reacting oxygen that is in direct contact with the flavin group is emerging as a crucial factor that differentiates between oxidase and monooxygenase enzymes. A challenge for the future will be to use these emerging concepts to rationally engineer flavoenzymes, paving the way to new research avenues with far-reaching implications for oxidative biocatalysis and metabolic engineering. Copyright 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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