Iron oxidation in Escherichia coli bacterioferritin ferroxidase centre, a site designed to react rapidly with H2O2 but slowly with O2

Jacob Pullin, Michael T. Wilson, Martin Clémancey, Geneviève Blondin, Justin M. Bradley, Geoffrey R. Moore, Nick E. Le Brun, Marina Lučić, Jonathan A. R. Worrall, Dimitri A. Svistunenko

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Both O2 and H2O2 can oxidize iron at the ferroxidase center (FC) of Escherichia coli bacterioferritin (EcBfr) but mechanistic details of the two reactions need clarification. UV/Vis, EPR, and Mössbauer spectroscopies have been used to follow the reactions when apo‐EcBfr, pre‐loaded anaerobically with Fe2+, was exposed to O2 or H2O2. We show that O2 binds di‐Fe2+ FC reversibly, two Fe2+ ions are oxidized in concert and a H2O2 molecule is formed and released to the solution. This peroxide molecule further oxidizes another di‐Fe2+ FC, at a rate circa 1000 faster than O2, ensuring an overall 1:4 stoichiometry of iron oxidation by O2. Initially formed Fe3+ can further react with H2O2 (producing protein bound radicals) but relaxes within seconds to an H2O2‐unreactive di‐Fe3+ form. The data obtained suggest that the primary role of EcBfr in vivo may be to detoxify H2O2 rather than sequester iron.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8361-8369
Number of pages9
JournalAngewandte Chemie-International Edition
Issue number15
Early online date22 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2021

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