FIGURE 3.16 Alternative mechanism for aromatase activity.

one-electron reduction leads to peroxide anion 3.17, which can undergo a nucleo-philic attack onto the formyl group of aldehyde 3.11. The adduct 3.18 thus generated, probably as its enol tautomer 3.19, evolves by loss of a molecule of formic acid via the ionic mechanism shown in Fig. 3.16, or perhaps through a radical pathway, yielding the estrogen hormones. This mechanism is consistent with all experimental data and is considered more likely than the one via 2-hydroxylation previously discussed and other alternatives that have been proposed.23

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