Biology as Poetry: Biochemistry

Bacteriophage Ecology Group


Enzyme responsible for removing a combination of protons and electrons from an electron donor.

Dehydrogenase is literally de (meaning to remove) – hydrogen (as in a proton plus an electron) – ase (meaning that it is an enzyme). It removes protons and electrons in combination and, indeed, in pairs such that two hydrogen atoms are removed per round of catalysis.

Dehydrogenase enzymes remove hydrogen atoms to coenzyme reducing agents, particularly NAD+ or, less commonly, FAD. See also dehydrogenation.

A typical reaction catalyzed by a dehydrogenase looks, in outline, like this: 2H-C-C-H2 + FAD → H-C=C-H + FADH2. Note the removal of two hydrogen atoms. Absent these two hydrogen atoms the two, now unpaired electrons that have been left behind with the carbon atoms, now pair up. This converts the single bond to a double bond. Note too that the two now-removed hydrogen atoms have become associated with FAD, forming FADH2.

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