Kinetic and thermodynamic resolution of the interactions between sulfite and the pentahaem cytochrome NrfA from Escherichia coli

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NrfA is a pentahaem cytochrome present in a wide-range of ?-, d- and e-proteobacteria. Its nitrite and nitric oxide reductase activities have been studied extensively and contribute to respiratory nitrite ammonification and nitric oxide detoxification respectively. Sulfite is a third substrate for NrfA that may be encountered in the micro-oxic environments where nrfA is expressed. Consequently, we have performed quantitative kinetic and thermodynamic studies of the interactions between sulfite and Escherichia coli NrfA to provide a biochemical framework from which to consider their possible cellular consequences. A combination of voltammetric, spectroscopic and crystallographic analyses define dissociation constants for sulfite binding to NrfA in oxidized (~54 µM), semi-reduced (~145 µM) and reduced (~180 µM) states that are comparable with each other, and the Km (~70 µM) for sulfite reduction at pH 7. Under comparable conditions Km values of ~22 and ~300 µM describe nitrite and nitric oxide reduction respectively, whereas the affinities of nitrate and thiocyanate for NrfA fall more than 50-fold on enzyme reduction. These results are discussed in terms of the nature of sulfite co-ordination within the active site of NrfA and their implications for the cellular activity of NrfA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2010

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