Bacterial Superoxide Dismutases

  • Howard M. Steinman
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 49)


Superoxide dismutase (SOD) has played a major role in establishing the biological relevance of oxyradicals. To many oxyradical researchers, “superoxide dismutase” connotes a copper-zinc SOD (CuZnSOD), the first dismutase to be purified and the form of prime interest clinically. However, superoxide dismutases containing manganese or iron as cofactor are also known and are widespread among bacteria. The manganese and iron SODs (MnSOD and FeSOD) are homologous in primary and three-dimensional structure and have clearly evolved from a common ancestor.2,3 Although structurally homologous, the Mn- and FeSODs are functionally distinct. Only in rare instances can the endogeneous Mn (or Fe) be replaced by Fe (or Mn) with retention of catalytic activity. The Mn- and FeSODs are further distinguished in their distribution among bacterial species. Strict anaerobes contain one SOD, an FeSOD. Bacterial aerobes usually contain an MnSOD or both Mn- and FeSODs. (The MnSOD is also widely found in eukaryotes. The FeSOD is also found in primitive eukaryotes and some green plants. Distributions of the Mn- and FeSODs among eukaryotes have been discussed elsewhere.1,4)


Superoxide Dismutase Leader Sequence Oxygen Toxicity Strict Anaerobe Iron SODs 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard M. Steinman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA

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