Catalase: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

EC number
CAS number 9001-05-2
IntEnz IntEnz view
ExPASy NiceZyme view
MetaCyc metabolic pathway
PRIAM profile
PDB structures
Gene Ontology AmiGO / EGO
Pfam PF00199
InterPro IPR011614
SCOP 7cat

PDB rendering based on 1dgb.
Available structures
1dgb, 1dgf, 1dgg, 1dgh, 1f4j, 1qqw, 1tgu, 1th2, 1th3, 1th4, 4blc, 7cat, 8cat
Symbols CAT; MGC138422; MGC138424
External IDs OMIM115500 MGI88271 HomoloGene55514 GeneCards: CAT Gene
EC number
RNA expression pattern
PBB GE CAT 201432 at tn.png
PBB GE CAT 211922 s at tn.png
More reference expression data
Species Human Mouse
Entrez 847 12359
Ensembl ENSG00000121691 ENSMUSG00000027187
UniProt P04040 Q3TVZ1
RefSeq (mRNA) NM_001752 NM_009804
RefSeq (protein) NP_001743 NP_033934
Location (UCSC) Chr 11:
34.42 - 34.45 Mb
Chr 2:
103.25 - 103.29 Mb
PubMed search [1] [2]

Catalase is a common enzyme found in nearly all living organisms which are exposed to oxygen, where it functions to catalyze the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen.[1] Catalase has one of the highest turnover numbers of all enzymes; one molecule of catalase can convert millions of molecules of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen per second.[2]

Catalase is a tetramer of four polypeptide chains, each over 500 amino acids long.[3] It contains four porphyrin heme (iron) groups that allow the enzyme to react with the hydrogen peroxide. The optimum pH for human catalase is approximately 7,[4] and has a fairly broad maximum (the rate of reaction does not change appreciably at pHs between 6.8 and 7.5).[5] The pH optimum for other catalases varies between 4 and 11 depending on the species.[6] The optimum temperature also varies by species.[7]



Catalase was first noticed as a substance in 1818 when Louis Jacques Thénard, who discovered H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide), suggested that its breakdown is caused by a substance. In 1900, Oscar Loew was the first to give it the name catalase, and found its presence in many plants and animals.[8] In 1937 catalase from beef liver was crystallised by James B. Sumner[9] and the molecular weight worked out in 1938.[10]

In 1969 the amino acid sequence of bovine catalase was worked out.[11] Then in 1981, the 3D structure of the protein was revealed.[12]


The reaction of catalase in the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is:

2 H2O2 → 2 H2O + O2

Molecular mechanism

While the complete mechanism of catalase is not currently known,[13] the reaction is believed to occur in two stages:

H2O2 + Fe(III)-E → H2O + O=Fe(IV)-E(.+)
H2O2 + O=Fe(IV)-E(.+) → H2O + Fe(III)-E + O2[13]
Here Fe()-E represents the iron centre of the heme group attached to the enzyme. Fe(IV)-E(.+) is a mesomeric form of Fe(V)-E, meaning that iron is not completely oxidized to +V but receives some "supporting electron" from the heme ligand. This heme has to be drawn then as radical cation (.+).

As hydrogen peroxide enters the active site, it interacts with the amino acids Asn147 (asparagine at position 147) and His74, causing a proton (hydrogen ion) to transfer between the oxygen atoms. The free oxygen atom coordinates, freeing the newly-formed water molecule and Fe(IV)=O. Fe(IV)=O reacts with a second hydrogen peroxide molecule to reform Fe(III)-E and produce water and oxygen.[13] The reactivity of the iron center may be improved by the presence of the phenolate ligand of Tyr357 in the fifth iron ligand, which can assist in the oxidation of the Fe(III) to Fe(IV). The efficiency of the reaction may also be improved by the interactions of His74 and Asn147 with reaction intermediates.[13] In general, the rate of the reaction can be determined by the Michaelis-Menten equation.[14]

Catalase can also oxidize different toxins, such as formaldehyde, formic acid, phenols, and alcohols. In doing so, it uses hydrogen peroxide according to the following reaction:

H2O2 + H2R → 2H2O + R

Again, the exact mechanism of this reaction is not known.

Any heavy metal ion (such as copper cations in copper(II) sulfate) will act as a noncompetitive inhibitor on catalase. Also, the poison cyanide is a competitive inhibitor of catalase, strongly binding to the heme of catalase and stopping the enzyme's action.

Three-dimensional protein structures of the peroxidated catalase intermediates are available at the Protein Data Bank. This enzyme is commonly used in laboratories as a tool for learning the effect of enzymes upon reaction rates.

Cellular role

Hydrogen peroxide is a harmful by-product of many normal metabolic processes: to prevent damage, it must be quickly converted into other, less dangerous substances. To this end, catalase is frequently used by cells to rapidly catalyze the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into less reactive gaseous oxygen and water molecules.[15]

The true biological significance of catalase is not always straightforward to assess: Mice genetically engineered to lack catalase are phenotypically normal, indicating that this enzyme is dispensable in animals under some conditions.[16] Some human beings have very low levels of catalase (acatalasia), yet show few ill effects. It is likely that the predominant scavengers of H2O2 in normal mammalian cells are peroxiredoxins rather than catalase.[citation needed]

Human catalase works at an optimum temperature of 37°C,[5] which is approximately the temperature of the human body. In contrast, catalase isolated from the hyperthermophile archaea Pyrobaculum calidifontis has a temperature optimum of 90°C.[17]

Catalase is usually located in a cellular organelle called the peroxisome.[18] Peroxisomes in plant cells are involved in photorespiration (the use of oxygen and production of carbon dioxide) and symbiotic nitrogen fixation (the breaking apart of diatomic nitrogen (N2) to reactive nitrogen atoms). Hydrogen peroxide is used as a potent antimicrobial agent when cells are infected with a pathogen. Pathogens that are catalase-positive, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Legionella pneumophila, and Campylobacter jejuni, make catalase in order to deactivate the peroxide radicals, thus allowing them to survive unharmed within the host.[19]

Distribution among organisms

All known animals use catalase in every organ, with particularly high concentrations occurring in the liver. One unique use of catalase occurs in bombardier beetle. The beetle has two sets of chemicals ordinarily stored separately in its paired glands. The larger of the pair, the storage chamber or reservoir, contains hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide, whereas the smaller of the pair, the reaction chamber, contains catalases and peroxidases. To activate the spray, the beetle mixes the contents of the two compartments, causing oxygen to be liberated from hydrogen peroxide. The oxygen oxidizes the hydroquinones and also acts as the propellant.[20]

Catalase is also universal among plants, and many fungi are also high producers of the enzyme.[21]

Very few aerobic microorganisms are known that do not use catalase. Streptococcus species are an example of aerobic bacteria that do not possess catalase. Catalase has also been observed in some anaerobic microorganisms, such as Methanosarcina barkeri.[22]


Hydrogen peroxide

Catalase is used in the food industry for removing hydrogen peroxide from milk prior to cheese production.[23] Another use is in food wrappers where it prevents food from oxidizing.[24] Catalase is also used in the textile industry, removing hydrogen peroxide from fabrics to make sure the material is peroxide-free.[25]

A minor use is in contact lens hygiene - a few lens-cleaning products disinfect the lens using a hydrogen peroxide solution; a solution containing catalase is then used to decompose the hydrogen peroxide before the lens is used again.[26] Recently, catalase has also begun to be used in the aesthetics industry. Several mask treatments combine the enzyme with hydrogen peroxide on the face with the intent of increasing cellular oxygenation in the upper layers of the epidermis.


Catalase test

The catalase test is also one of the main three tests used by microbiologists to identify species of bacteria. The presence of catalase enzyme in the test isolate is detected using hydrogen peroxide. If the bacteria possess catalase (i.e. are catalase positive), when a small amount of bacterial isolate is added to hydrogen peroxide, bubbles of oxygen are observed.

In microbiology, the catalase test is used to differentiate between bacterial species in the lab. The test is done by placing a drop of hydrogen peroxide on a microscope slide. Using an applicator stick, a scientist touches the colony and then smears a sample into the hydrogen peroxide drop.

While the catalase test alone cannot identify a particular organism, combined with other tests such as antibiotic resistance, it can aid diagnosis. The presence of catalase in bacterial cells depends on both the growth condition and the medium used to grow the cells.

Grey hair

According to recent scientific studies, low levels of catalase may play a role in the greying process of human hair. Hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by the body and catalase breaks it down. If there is a dip in catalase levels, hydrogen peroxide cannot be broken down. This causes the hydrogen peroxide to bleach the hair from the inside out. Scientists believe this finding may someday be incorporated into anti-greying treatments for aging hair.[30][31][32]


The peroxisomal disorder acatalasia is due to a deficiency in the function of catalase.


Catalase has been shown to interact with ABL2[33] and Abl gene.[33]

See also


  1. ^ Chelikani P, Fita I, Loewen PC (January 2004). "Diversity of structures and properties among catalases". Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 61 (2): 192–208. doi:10.1007/s00018-003-3206-5. PMID 14745498. 
  2. ^ Goodsell DS (2004-09-01). "Catalase". Molecule of the Month. RCSB Protein Data Bank. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  3. ^ Boon EM, Downs A, Marcey D. "Catalase: H2O2: H2O2 Oxidoreductase". Catalase Structural Tutorial Text. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  4. ^ Maehly A, Chance B (1954). "The assay of catalases and peroxidases". Methods Biochem Anal 1: 357–424. doi:10.1002/9780470110171.ch14. PMID 13193536. 
  5. ^ a b Aebi H (1984). "Catalase in vitro". Meth. Enzymol. 105: 121–6. doi:10.1016/S0076-6879(84)05016-3. PMID 6727660. 
  6. ^ "EC - catalase". BRENDA: The Comprehensive Enzyme Information System. Department of Bioinformatics and Biochemistry, Technische Universität Braunschweig. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  7. ^ Toner K, Sojka G, Ellis R. "A Quantitative Enzyme Study; CATALASE". Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  8. ^ Loew O (May 1900). "A New Enzyme of General Occurrence in Organisms". Science (journal) 11 (279): 701–702. doi:10.1126/science.11.279.701. PMID 17751716. 
  9. ^ Sumner JB, Dounce AL (April 1937). "Crystalline catalase". Science (journal) 85 (2206): 366–367. doi:10.1126/science.85.2206.366. PMID 17776781. 
  10. ^ Sumner JB, Gralén N (March 1938). "The molecular weight of crystalline catalase". Science (journal) 87 (2256): 284. doi:10.1126/science.87.2256.284. PMID 17831682. 
  11. ^ Schroeder WA, Shelton JR, Shelton JB, Robberson B, Apell G (May 1969). "The amino acid sequence of bovine liver catalase: a preliminary report". Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 131 (2): 653–5. doi:10.1016/0003-9861(69)90441-X. PMID 4892021. 
  12. ^ Murthy MR, Reid TJ, Sicignano A, Tanaka N, Rossmann MG (October 1981). "Structure of beef liver catalase". J. Mol. Biol. 152 (2): 465–99. doi:10.1016/0022-2836(81)90254-0. PMID 7328661. 
  13. ^ a b c d Boon EM, Downs A, Marcey D. "Proposed Mechanism of Catalase". Catalase: H2O2: H2O2 Oxidoreductase: Catalase Structural Tutorial. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  14. ^ Maass E (1998-07-19). "How does the concentration of hydrogen peroxide affect the reaction". MadSci Network. Retrieved 009-03-02. 
  15. ^ Gaetani G, Ferraris A, Rolfo M, Mangerini R, Arena S, Kirkman H (1996). "Predominant role of catalase in the disposal of hydrogen peroxide within human erythrocytes.". Blood 87 (4): 1595–9. PMID 8608252. 
  16. ^ Ho YS, Xiong Y, Ma W, Spector A, Ho D (2004). "Mice Lacking Catalase Develop Normally but Show Differential Sensitivity to Oxidant Tissue Injury.". J Biol Chem 279 (31): 32804–812. doi:10.1074/jbc.M404800200. PMID 15178682. 
  17. ^ Amo T, Atomi H, Imanaka T (June 2002). "Unique presence of a manganese catalase in a hyperthermophilic archaeon, Pyrobaculum calidifontis VA1". J. Bacteriol. 184 (12): 3305–12. doi:10.1128/JB.184.12.3305-3312.2002. PMID 12029047. 
  18. ^ Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K, Walter P (2002). "Peroxisomes". Molecular Biology of the Cell (4th ed.). New York: Garland Science. ISBN 0-8153-3218-1. 
  19. ^ Srinivasa Rao PS, Yamada Y, Leung KY (September 2003). "A major catalase (KatB) that is required for resistance to H2O2 and phagocyte-mediated killing in Edwardsiella tarda". Microbiology (Reading, Engl.) 149 (Pt 9): 2635–44. doi:10.1099/mic.0.26478-0. PMID 12949187. 
  20. ^ Eisner T, Aneshansley DJ (August 1999). "Spray aiming in the bombardier beetle: photographic evidence". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 96 (17): 9705–9. PMID 10449758. PMC 22274. 
  21. ^ Isobe K, Inoue N, Takamatsu Y, Kamada K, Wakao N (January 2006). "Production of catalase by fungi growing at low pH and high temperature". J. Biosci. Bioeng. 101 (1): 73–6. doi:10.1263/jbb.101.73. PMID 16503295. 
  22. ^ Brioukhanov AL, Netrusov AI, Eggen RI (June 2006). "The catalase and superoxide dismutase genes are transcriptionally up-regulated upon oxidative stress in the strictly anaerobic archaeon Methanosarcina barkeri". Microbiology (Reading, Engl.) 152 (Pt 6): 1671–7. doi:10.1099/mic.0.28542-0. PMID 16735730. 
  23. ^ "Catalase". Worthington Enzyme Manual. Worthington Biochemical Corporation. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  24. ^ Hengge A (1999-03-16). "Re: how is catalase used in industry?". General Biology. MadSci Network. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  25. ^ "textile industry". Case study 228. International Cleaner Production Information Clearinghouse. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  26. ^ US5,521,091 (PDF version) (1996-05-28) Cook JN, Worsley JL, Compositions and method for destroying hydrogen peroxide on contact lens. 
  27. ^ Rollins DM (2000-08-01). "Bacterial Pathogen List". BSCI 424 Pathogenic Microbiology. University of Maryland. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  28. ^ Johnson M. "Catalase Production". Biochemical Tests. Mesa Community College. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  29. ^ Fox A. "Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococci". University of South Carolina. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  30. ^ "Why Hair Turns Gray Is No Longer A Gray Area: Our Hair Bleaches Itself As We Grow Older". Science News. ScienceDaily. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  31. ^ Hitti M (2009-02-25). "Why Hair Goes Gray". Health News. WebMD. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  32. ^ Wood JM, Decker H, Hartmann H, Chavan B, Rokos H, Spencer JD, Hasse S, Thornton MJ, Shalbaf M, Paus R, Schallreuter KU (February 2009). "Senile hair graying: H2O2-mediated oxidative stress affects human hair color by blunting methionine sulfoxide repair". Faseb J.. doi:10.1096/fj.08-125435. PMID 19237503. 
  33. ^ a b Cao, Cheng; Leng Yumei, Kufe Donald (Aug. 2003). "Catalase activity is regulated by c-Abl and Arg in the oxidative stress response". J. Biol. Chem. (United States) 278 (32): 29667–75. doi:10.1074/jbc.M301292200. ISSN 0021-9258. PMID 12777400. 

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address