The Cytochrome c Fold Can Be Attained from a Compact Apo State by Occupancy of a Nascent Heme Binding Site

Rachel Wain, Thelma A. Pertinhez, Esther J. Tomlinson, Lin Hong, Christopher M. Dobson, Stuart J. Ferguson, Lorna J. Smith

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NMR techniques and 8-anilino-1-napthalenesulphonate (ANS) binding studies have been used to characterize the apo state of a variant of cytochrome c 552 from Hydrogenobacter thermophilus. In this variant the two cysteines that form covalent thioether linkages to the heme group have been replaced by alanine residues (C11A/C14A). CD studies show that the apo state contains ∼14% helical secondary structure, and measurements of hydrodynamic radii using pulse field gradient NMR methods show that it is compact (R h, 16.6 Å). The apo state binds 1 mol of ANS/mol of protein, and a linear reduction in fluorescence enhancement is observed on adding aliquots of hemin to a solution of apo C11A/C14A cytochrome c552 with ANS bound. These results suggest that the bound ANS is located in the heme binding pocket, which would therefore be at least partially formed in the apo state. Consistent with these characteristics, the formation of the holo state of the variant cytochrome c552 from the apo state on the addition of heme has been demonstrated using NMR techniques. The properties of the apo state of C11A/C14A cytochrome c552 reported here contrast strongly with those of mitochondrial cytochrome c whose apo state resembles a random coil under similar conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45813-45817
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - Dec 7 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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