Covalent modifications of the catalytic tyrosine in octahaem cytochrome c nitrite reductase and their effect on the enzyme activity

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Abstract:

Octahaem cytochrome c nitrite reductase from Thioalkalivibrio nitratireducens (TvNiR), like the previously characterized pentahaem nitrite reductases (NrfAs), catalyzes the six‐electron reductions of nitrite to ammonia and of sulfite to sulfide. The active site of both TvNiR and NrfAs is formed by the lysine‐coordinated haem and His, Tyr and Arg residues. The distinguishing structural feature of TvNiR is the presence of a covalent bond between the CE2 atom of the catalytic Tyr303 and the S atom of Cys305, which might be responsible for the higher nitrite reductase activity of TvNiR compared with NrfAs. In the present study, a new modified form of the enzyme (TvNiRb) that contains an additional covalent bond between Tyr303 CE1 and Gln360 CG is reported. Structures of TvNiRb in complexes with phosphate (1.45 Å resolution) and sulfite (1.8 Å resolution), the structure of TvNiR in a complex with nitrite (1.83 Å resolution) and several additional structures were determined. The formation of the second covalent bond by Tyr303 leads to a decrease in both the nitrite and sulfite reductase activities of the enzyme. Tyr303 is located at the exit from the putative proton‐transport channel to the active site, which is absent in NrfAs. This is an additional argument in favour of the involvement of Tyr303 as a proton donor in catalysis. The changes in the activity of cytochrome c nitrite reductases owing to the formation of Tyr–Cys and Tyr–Gln bonds may be associated with changes in the pK a value of the catalytic tyrosine.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S0907444911052632

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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