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The Jumonji-C (JmjC) subfamily of 2-oxoglutarate (2OG)-dependent oxygenases are of biomedical interest because of their roles in the regulation of gene expression and protein biosynthesis. Human JmjC 2OG oxygenases catalyze oxidative modifications to give either chemically stable alcohol products, or in the case of N(ɛ)-methyl lysine demethylation, relatively unstable hemiaminals that fragment to give formaldehyde and the demethylated product. Recent work has yielded conflicting reports as to whether some JmjC oxygenases catalyze N-methyl group demethylation or hydroxylation reactions. We review JmjC oxygenase-catalyzed reactions within the context of structural knowledge, highlighting key differences between hydroxylases and demethylases, which have the potential to inform on the possible type(s) of reactions catalyzed by partially characterized or un-characterized JmjC oxygenases in humans and other organisms.

Original publication




Journal article


Current opinion in structural biology

Publication Date





62 - 72


Chemistry Research Laboratory, University of Oxford, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TA, UK.