Protein film voltammetry reveals distinctive fingerprints of nitrite and hydroxylamine reduction by a cytochrome c nitrite reductase

Hayley C. Angove, Jeffrey A. Cole, David J. Richardson, Julea N. Butt

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The cytochrome c nitrite reductases perform a key step in the biological nitrogen cycle by catalyzing the six-electron reduction of nitrite to ammonium. Graphite electrodes painted with Escherichia coli cytochrome cnitrite reductase and placed in solutions containing nitrite (pH 7) exhibit large catalytic reduction currents during cyclic voltammetry at potentials below 0 V. These catalytic currents were not observed in the absence of cytochrome c nitrite reductase and were shown to originate from an enzyme film engaged in direct electron exchange with the electrode. The catalytic current-potential profiles observed on progression from substrate-limited to enzyme-limited nitrite reduction revealed a fingerprint of catalytic behavior distinct from that observed during hydroxylamine reduction, the latter being an alternative substrate for the enzyme that is reduced to ammonium in a two electron process. Cytochrome c nitrite reductase clearly interacts differently with these two substrates. However, similar features underlie the development of the voltammetric response with increasing nitrite or hydroxylamine concentration. These features are consistent with coordinated two-electron reduction of the active site and suggest that the mechanisms for reduction of both substrates are underpinned by common rate-defining processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23374-23381
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2002

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