carbon monoxide

Inorganic compound, a highly toxic, colourless, odourless, flammable gas, chemical formula CO. It is produced when carbon (including coal and coke) or carbon-containing fuel (including petroleum hydrocarbons; e.g., gasoline, fuel oil) does not burn completely to carbon dioxide, because of insufficient oxygen. CO is present in the exhaust gases of internal combustion engines and furnaces. It is toxic because it binds to hemoglobin in blood much more strongly than does oxygen and thus interferes with transport of oxygen from lungs to tissues (see hypoxia; respiration). Symptoms of CO poisoning range from headache, nausea, and syncope to coma, weak pulse, respiratory failure, and death. CO is used industrially as a fuel and in synthesis of numerous organic compounds, including methanol, ethylene, and aldehydes.

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In enzymology, a carbon-monoxide dehydrogenase (acceptor) is an enzyme that catalyzes the chemical reaction

CO + H2O + A rightleftharpoons CO2 + AH2

The 3 substrates of this enzyme are CO, H2O, and A, whereas its two products are CO2 and AH2.

This enzyme belongs to the family of oxidoreductases, specifically those acting on the aldehyde or oxo group of donor with other acceptors. The systematic name of this enzyme class is carbon-monoxide:acceptor oxidoreductase. Other names in common use include anaerobic carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, carbon monoxide oxygenase, carbon-monoxide dehydrogenase, and carbon-monoxide:(acceptor) oxidoreductase. This enzyme participates in methane metabolism. It has 4 cofactors: iron, Zinc, Nickel, and Iron-sulfur.

Structural studies

As of late 2007, 13 structures have been solved for this class of enzymes, with PDB accession codes , , , , , , , , , , , , and .


  • Bonam D, Ludden PW "Purification and characterization of carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, a nickel, zinc, iron-sulfur protein, from Rhodospirillum rubrum". J. Biol. Chem. 262 2980–7.
  • Diekert G, Ritter M "Purification of the nickel protein carbon monoxide dehydrogenase of Clostridium thermoaceticum". FEBS. Lett. 151 41–4.
  • Drennan CL, Heo J, Sintchak MD, Schreiter E, Ludden PW "Life on carbon monoxide: X-ray structure of Rhodospirillum rubrum Ni-Fe-S carbon monoxide dehydrogenase". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 98 11973–8.
  • Dobbek H, Svetlitchnyi V, Gremer L, Huber R, Meyer O "Crystal structure of a carbon monoxide dehydrogenase reveals a [Ni-4Fe-5S] cluster". Science. 293 1281–5.

External links

The CAS registry number for this enzyme class is .

Gene Ontology (GO) codes

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