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BACKGROUND: SoxAX enzymes initiate microbial oxidation of reduced inorganic sulfur compounds. Their catalytic mechanism is unknown. RESULTS: Cyanide displaces the CysS(-) ligand to the active site heme following reduction by S(2)O(4)(2-) but not Eu(II). CONCLUSION: An active site heme ligand becomes labile on exposure to substrate analogs. SIGNIFICANCE: Elucidation of SoxAX mechanism is necessary to understand a widespread pathway for sulfur compound oxidation. SoxAX enzymes couple disulfide bond formation to the reduction of cytochrome c in the first step of the phylogenetically widespread Sox microbial sulfur oxidation pathway. Rhodovulum sulfidophilum SoxAX contains three hemes. An electrochemical cell compatible with magnetic circular dichroism at near infrared wavelengths has been developed to resolve redox and chemical properties of the SoxAX hemes. In combination with potentiometric titrations monitored by electronic absorbance and EPR, this method defines midpoint potentials (E(m)) at pH 7.0 of approximately +210, -340, and -400 mV for the His/Met, His/Cys(-), and active site His/CysS(-)-ligated heme, respectively. Exposing SoxAX to S(2)O(4)(2-), a substrate analog with E(m) ~-450 mV, but not Eu(II) complexed with diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (E(m) ~-1140 mV), allows cyanide to displace the cysteine persulfide (CysS(-)) ligand to the active site heme. This provides the first evidence for the dissociation of CysS(-) that has been proposed as a key event in SoxAX catalysis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





40350 - 40359


Bacterial Proteins, Catalysis, Catalytic Domain, Cytochrome c Group, Heme, Kinetics, Oxidation-Reduction, Oxidoreductases, Rhodovulum, Sulfur