EPR studies of cytochrome aa3 from Sulfolobus acidocaldarius Evidence for a binuclear center in archaebacterial terminal oxidase


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The purified cytochrome aa3‐type oxidase from Sulfolobus acidocaldarius (DSM 639) consists of a single subunit, containing one low‐spin and one high‐spin A‐type hemes and copper [anemüller, S. and Schäfer, G. (1990) Eur. J. Biochem. 191, 297–305]. The enzyme metal centers were investigated by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR), coupled to redox potentiometry. The low‐spin heme EPR signal has the following g‐values: gz= 3.02, gy= 2.23 and gx= 1.45 and the highspin heme exhibits an almost axial spectrum (gy= 6.03 and gx= 5.97, E/D < 0.002). In the enzyme as isolated the low‐spin resonance corresponds to 95 ± 10% of the enzyme concentration, while the high‐spin signal accounts for only 40 ± 5%. However, taking into account the redox potential dependence of the high‐spin heme signal, this value also rises to 95 ± 10%. The high‐spin heme signal of the Sulfolobus enzyme shows spectral characteristics distinct from those of the Paracoccus denitrificans one: it shows a smaller rhombicity (gy= 6.1 and gx= 5.9, E/D= 0.004 for the P. denitrificans enzyme) and it is easier to saturate, having a half saturation power of 148 mW compared to 360 mW for the P. denitrificans protein, both at 10 K. The EPR spectrum of an extensively dialyzed and active enzyme sample containing only one copper atom/enzyme molecule does not display CuA‐like resonances, indicating that this enzyme contains only a CuB‐type center. The EPR‐redox titration of the high‐spin heme signal, which is assigned to cytochrome a3, gives a bell shaped curve, which was simulated by a non‐interactive two step redox process, with reduction potentials of 200 ± 10 mV and 370 ± 10 mV at pH = 7.4. The decrease of the signal amplitude at high redox potentials is proposed to be due to oxidation of a CuB(I) center, which in the CuB(II) state is tightly spin‐coupled to the heme a3 center. The reduction potential of the low‐spin resonance was determined using the same model as 305 ± 10 mV at pH = 7.4 by EPR redox titration. Addition of azide to the enzyme affects only the high‐spin heme signal, consistent with the assignment of this resonance to heme a3. The results are discussed in the context of the redox center composition of quinol and cytochrome c oxidases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)133-138
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.11.1992


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