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Previously, in vitro formation of thioether bonds between Hydrogenobacter thermophilus apocytochrome c(552) and Fe-protoporphyrin IX has been demonstrated. Now we report studies on the reaction between the metalloderivatives Zn-, Co-, and Mn-protoporphyrin IX and the cysteine thiols of H. thermophilus apocytochrome c(552). All of these metalloporphyrins were capable of forming a "b-type cytochrome" state in which the hydrophobic prosthetic group is bound non-covalently. Zn(II)-protoporphyrin IX attached to the polypeptide covalently in the presence of either dithiothreitol or tri(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine to keep the thiol moieties reduced. These data show that the chemical nature of the thiol-reducing agent does not interfere with the thioether bond-forming mechanism. Mn-porphyrin could only react with the protein in the divalent state of the metal ion. Co-porphyrin did not react with the cysteine thiols of the apocytochrome in either oxidation state of the metal. In the absence of a metal (i.e. protoporphyrin IX itself), no reactivity toward apocytochrome is observed. These results have significant implications for the chemical requirements for thioether bond formation of heme vinyl groups to cysteine thiols and also have potential applications in de novo design of metalloproteins.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





45347 - 45353


Bacteria, Cytochromes c, Metalloproteins, Protoporphyrins, Sulfhydryl Compounds