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Oxanion hole

An oxanion hole is a pocket in the structure of an enzyme which stabilizes a deprotonated oxygen or alkoxide, often by placing it close to positively charged residues. This can contribute to binding affinity in two ways:

  • It may directly stabilize the transition state of a reaction by stabilizing the anion (such as in the tetrahedral intermediate formed in the proteolytic reaction catalyzed chymotrypsin)
  • It may allow for insertion or positioning of a substrate which would suffer from steric hindrance if it could not occupy the hole (such as BPG in hemoglobin).


  • Lehinger, Principles of Biochemistry, 4th ed.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Oxanion_hole". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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