Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Flavin doesn’t put all oxygens in one basket

Oxygen activation mechanisms catalyzed by flavin cofactors are established for electron transfer (oxidases) and C4a covalent flavin–oxygen adduct formation (oxygen-inserting monooxygenases). A new paradigm for oxygen insertion involving a flavin-N5-aminoperoxide intermediate has now been discovered in select flavin-dependent monooxygenases.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Schematic overview of the flavin mediated O2-reduction process.


  1. Romero, E., Gómez Castellanos, J. R., Gadda, G., Fraaije, M. W. & Mattevi, A. Chem. Rev. 118, 1742–1769 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Matthews, A. et al. Nat. Chem. Biol. (2020).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Leys, D. & Scrutton, N. S. Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol. 41, 19–26 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Payne, K. A. P. et al. Nature 522, 497–501 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Sorigué, D. et al. Science 357, 903–907 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Black, M. J. et al. Nat. Chem. 12, 71–75 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Teufel, R. et al. Nature 503, 552–556 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Mishanina, T. V. et al. Science 351, 507–510 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Conrad, K. S., Manahan, C. C. & Crane, B. R. Nat. Chem. Biol. 10, 801–809 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Kutta, R. J., Archipowa, N. & Scrutton, N. S. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 20, 28767–28776 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to David Leys or Nigel S. Scrutton.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Leys, D., Scrutton, N.S. Flavin doesn’t put all oxygens in one basket. Nat Chem Biol 16, 485–486 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing