Ciba Foundation Symposium 140 - Cyanide Compounds in Biology

Includes the complaints of a symposium held on the Ciba origin, March 1988. members current a world, interdisciplinary method of the biology and organic chemistry of cyanide and comparable compounds. Addressed are the microbial metabolism of HCN and natural nitrile compounds, cyanogenesis in greater crops, qualitative and quantitative tools of research of cyanogenic glycosides, and detoxing of hydrogen cyanide through animals.


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Yamada: Acrylonitrile is a very strong alkylating agent. Therefore, the enzyme S-H is blocked by acrylonitrile. So we prefer to feed it continuously during the reaction at a low temperature. Then we always get only amide. The amidase and hydratase activities are induced together by nitrile and amide in the cells. However, the nitrile substrate inhibits the amidase reaction, because the amidase is more sensitive to substrate inhibition. Knowles: Whether you use aliphatic or aromatic nitriles, it is apparent that the products are released into the growth media at a fairly high concentration.

Pryce: It is going to run out; it will need oxygen sometime. M ~ l l e r :No, because it’s an internal oxidation-reduction. There is no total change in oxidation level. The aldoxime is isomeric with the amide. Yamada: The quinone cofactor exists in hydrated and non-hydrated forms. This hydrated form may be important for the hydration reaction. We do not know whether oxidation-reduction is involved. M@ller:No, I am just asking becalise that might be a mechanism by which the stereochemical observations could be explained.

Pryce: We are most interested in constitutive nitrile hydratases from Rhodococcus spp. We found, as did the Nitto Chemical Company and Professor Yamada, that light is very important for this reaction. Have you studied your enzymes in the dark? Ingvorsen: We have been aware of this and have done experiments both in the dark and in the light; we have not seen any difference. Pryce: We certainly have seen a difference with constitutive enzymes from Rhodococcus spp. that we have been working with. Yamada: Only the constitutive enzyme is activated by light; the inducible ones are not activated by light.

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