Heightened dynamics of the oxidized Y48H variant of human cytochrome c increases its peroxidatic activity

Oliver Deacon, Andreas Ioannis Karsisiotis, Tadeo Moreno-Chicano, Michael A. Hough, Colin Macdonald, Tharin M. A. Blumenschein, Michael T. Wilson, Geoffrey R. Moore, Jonathan A. R. Worrall

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Proteins performing multiple biochemical functions are called “moonlighting proteins” or extreme multifunctional (EMF) proteins. Mitochondrial cytochrome c is an EMF protein that binds multiple partner proteins to act as a signaling molecule, transfers electrons in the respiratory chain, and acts as a peroxidase in apoptosis. Mutations in the cytochrome c gene lead to the disease thrombocytopenia, which is accompanied by enhanced apoptotic activity. The Y48H variant arises from one such mutation and is found in the 40–57 Ω-loop, the lowest-unfolding free energy substructure of the cytochrome c fold. A 1.36 Å resolution X-ray structure of the Y48H variant reveals minimal structural changes compared to the wild-type structure, with the axial Met80 ligand coordinated to the heme iron. Despite this, the intrinsic peroxidase activity is enhanced, implying that a pentacoordinate heme state is more prevalent in the Y48H variant, corroborated through determination of a Met80 “off rate” of >125 s–1 compared to a rate of ∼6 s–1 for the wild-type protein. Heteronuclear nuclear magnetic resonance measurements with the oxidized Y48H variant reveal heightened dynamics in the 40–57 Ω-loop and the Met80-containing 71–85 Ω-loop relative to the wild-type protein, illustrating communication between these substructures. Placed into context with the G41S cytochrome c variant, also implicated in thrombocytopenia, a dynamic picture associated with this disease relative to cytochrome c is emerging whereby increasing dynamics in substructures of the cytochrome c fold serve to facilitate an increased population of the peroxidatic pentacoordinate heme state in the following order: wild type < G41S < Y48H.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6111–6124
Number of pages14
Issue number46
Early online date30 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2017

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