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The heme ligation in the isolated c domain of Paracoccus pantotrophus cytochrome cd(1) nitrite reductase has been characterized in both oxidation states in solution by NMR spectroscopy. In the reduced form, the heme ligands are His69-Met106, and the tertiary structure around the c heme is similar to that found in reduced crystals of intact cytochrome cd1 nitrite reductase. In the oxidized state, however, the structure of the isolated c domain is different from the structure seen in oxidized crystals of intact cytochrome cd1, where the c heme ligands are His69-His17. An equilibrium mixture of heme ligands is present in isolated oxidized c domain. Two-dimensional exchange NMR spectroscopy shows that the dominant species has His69-Met106 ligation, similar to reduced c domains. This form is in equilibrium with a high-spin form in which Met106 has left the heme iron. Melting studies show that the midpoint of unfolding of the isolated c domain is 320.9 +/- 1.2 K in the oxidized and 357.7 +/- 0.6 K in the reduced form. The thermally denatured forms are high-spin in both oxidation states. The results reveal how redox changes modulate conformational plasticity around the c heme and show the first key steps in the mechanism that lead to ligand switching in the holoenzyme. This process is not solely a function of the properties of the c domain. The role of the d1 heme in guiding His17 to the c heme in the oxidized holoenzyme is discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





5846 - 5855


Cytochromes, Electron Transport Complex IV, Heme, Hemeproteins, Hot Temperature, Ligands, Models, Molecular, Nitrite Reductases, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular, Oxidation-Reduction, Paracoccus, Peptide Fragments, Protein Denaturation, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Protons, Solutions, Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization, Spectrophotometry