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The oxidized form of Paracoccus pantotrophus cytochrome cd(1) nitrite reductase, as isolated, has bis-histidinyl co-ordination of the c haem and His/Tyr co-ordination of the d(1) haem. On reduction, the haem co-ordinations change to His/Met and His/vacant respectively. If the latter form of the enzyme is reoxidized, a conformer is generated in which the ferric c haem is His/Met co-ordinated; this can revert to the 'as isolated' state of the enzyme over approx. 20 min at room temperature. However, addition of nitrite to the enzyme after a cycle of reduction and reoxidation produces a kinetically stable, all-ferric complex with nitrite bound to the d(1) haem and His/Met co-ordination of the c haem. This complex is catalytically active with the physiological electron donor protein pseudoazurin. The effective dissociation constant for nitrite is 2 mM. Evidence is presented that d(1) haem is optimized to bind nitrite, as opposed to other anions that are commonly good ligands to ferric haem. The all-ferric nitrite bound state of the enzyme could not be generated stoichiometrically by mixing nitrite with the 'as isolated' conformer of cytochrome cd(1) without redox cycling.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem J

Publication Date





883 - 888


Catalysis, Cytochromes, Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy, Heme, Iron, Kinetics, Ligands, Nitrite Reductases, Nitrites, Oxidation-Reduction, Paracoccus, Protein Binding, Spectrophotometry