The Rieske proteins of two phylogenetically distant acidophilic organisms, i.e. the proteobacterium Thiobacillus ferrooxidans and the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, were studied by EPR. Redox titrations at a range of pH values showed that the Rieske centers of both organisms are characterized by redox midpoint potential-versus-pH curves featuring a common pK value of 6.2. This pK value is significantly more acidic (by almost 2 pH units) than that of Rieske proteins in neutrophilic species. The orientations of the Rieske center's g tensors with respect to the plane of the membrane were studied between pH 4 and 8 using partially ordered samples. At pH 4, the Sulfolobus Rieske cluster was found in the 'typical' orientation of chemically reduced Rieske centers, whereas this orientation changed significantly on going toward high pH values. The Thiobacillus protein, by contrast, appeared to be in the 'standard' orientation at both low and high pH values. The results are discussed with respect to the molecular parameters conveying acid resistance and in light of the recently demonstrated long- range conformational movement of the Rieske protein during enzyme turnover in cytochrome bc1 complexes.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)