Gunhild Layer

Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany

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Publications (21)83.92 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In living organisms heme is formed from the common precursor uroporphyrinogen III by either one of two substantially different pathways. In contrast to eukaryotes and most bacteria which employ the so-called "classical" heme biosynthesis pathway, the archaea use an alternative route. In this pathway, heme is formed from uroporphyrinogen III via the intermediates precorrin-2, sirohydrochlorin, siroheme, 12,18-didecarboxysiroheme, and iron-coproporphyrin III. In this study the heme biosynthesis proteins AhbAB, AhbC, and AhbD from Methanosarcina barkeri were functionally characterized. Using an in vivo enzyme activity assay it was shown that AhbA and AhbB (Mbar_A1459 and Mbar_A1460) together catalyze the conversion of siroheme into 12,18-didecarboxysiroheme. The two proteins form a heterodimeric complex which might be subject to feedback regulation by the pathway end-product heme. Further, AhbC (Mbar_A1793) was shown to catalyze the formation of iron-coproporphyrin III in vivo. Finally, recombinant AhbD (Mbar_A1458) was produced in E. coli and purified indicating that this protein most likely contains two [4Fe-4S] clusters. Using an in vitro enzyme activity assay it was demonstrated that AhbD catalyzes the conversion of iron-coproporphyrin III into heme.
    Archaea 01/2014; 2014:327637. · 2.55 Impact Factor
  • 11/2013;
  • Biochemical Journal 07/2013; 453(1):154. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The periplasmic cytochrome cd1 nitrite reductase NirS occurring in denitrifying bacteria such as the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa contains the essential tetrapyrrole cofactors heme c and heme d1. Whereas the heme c is incorporated into NirS by the cytochrome c maturation system I, nothing is known about the insertion of the heme d1 into NirS. Here, we show by co-immunoprecipitation that NirS interacts with the potential heme d1 insertion protein NirN in vivo. This NirS-NirN interaction is dependent on the presence of the putative heme d1 biosynthesis enzyme NirF. Further, we show by affinity co-purification that NirS also directly interacts with NirF. Additionally, NirF is shown to be a membrane anchored lipo-protein in P. aeruginosa. Finally, the analysis by UV-visible absorption spectroscopy of the periplasmic protein fractions prepared from the P. aeruginosa wild type and a P. aeruginosa ΔnirN mutant shows that the cofactor content of NirS is altered in the absence of NirN. Based on our results, we propose a potential model for the maturation of NirS in which the three proteins NirS, NirN and NirF form a transient, membrane-associated complex in order to achieve the last step of heme d1 biosynthesis and insertion of the cofactor into NirS.
    Bioscience Reports 05/2013; · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The first enzyme of heme biosynthesis, 5-aminolevulinic acid synthase, catalyses the pyridoxal-5'-phosphate-dependent condensation of glycine and succinyl-CoA to 5-aminolevulinic acid, CO2 and CoA. The crystal structure of Rhodobacter capsulatus ALAS provides first snapshots of the structural basis for substrate binding and catalysis. To elucidate the functional role of single amino acid residues in the active site for substrate discrimination, substrate positioning, catalysis and involved structural protein rearrangements, multiple mutant ALAS variants were generated. The quinonoid intermediates I and II were visualized in single turnover experiments, indicating the presence of an α-amino-β-ketoadipate intermediate. Further evidence was obtained by pH-dependent formation of quinonoid II formation from the product 5-aminolevulinic acid. The function of residues R21, T83, N85 and I86, all involved in coordination of the succinyl-CoA substrate carboxyl group, were analysed kinetically. Residues R21, T83 and I86, all provided by the second subunit to the inter subunit active site, were found essential. Their location on the second subunit provides the basis for the required structural dynamics during the complex condensation of both substrates. Utilization of L-alanine by the ALAS variant T83S indicated the importance of this residue for the discrimination of the glycine substrate against related amino acids. N85 was found solely important for succinyl-CoA substrate recognition and discrimination. Obtained results provide a novel dynamic view on the structural basis of ALAS substrate binding and catalysis.
    Biochemical Journal 01/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lactococcus lactis cannot synthesize haem, but when supplied with haem, expresses a cytochrome bd oxidase. Apart from the cydAB structural genes for this oxidase, L. lactis features two additional genes, hemH and hemW (hemN), with conjectured functions in haem metabolism. While it appears clear that hemH encodes a ferrochelatase, no function is known for hemW. HemW-like proteins occur in bacteria, plants and animals, and are usually annotated as CPDHs (coproporphyrinogen III dehydrogenases). However, such a function has never been demonstrated for a HemW-like protein. We here studied HemW of L. lactis and showed that it is devoid of CPDH activity in vivo and in vitro. Recombinantly produced, purified HemW contained an Fe-S (iron-sulfur) cluster and was dimeric; upon loss of the iron, the protein became monomeric. Both forms of the protein covalently bound haem b in vitro, with a stoichiometry of one haem per monomer and a KD of 8 μM. In vivo, HemW occurred as a haem-free cytosolic form, as well as a haem-containing membrane-associated form. Addition of L. lactis membranes to haem-containing HemW triggered the release of haem from HemW in vitro. On the basis of these findings, we propose a role of HemW in haem trafficking. HemW-like proteins form a distinct phylogenetic clade that has not previously been recognized.
    Biochemical Journal 12/2011; 442(2):335-43. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During the biosynthesis of heme d(1), the essential cofactor of cytochrome cd(1) nitrite reductase, the NirE protein catalyzes the methylation of uroporphyrinogen III to precorrin-2 using S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) as the methyl group donor. The crystal structure of Pseudomonas aeruginosa NirE in complex with its substrate uroporphyrinogen III and the reaction by-product S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine (SAH) was solved to 2.0 Å resolution. This represents the first enzyme-substrate complex structure for a SAM-dependent uroporphyrinogen III methyltransferase. The large substrate binds on top of the SAH in a "puckered" conformation in which the two pyrrole rings facing each other point into the same direction either upward or downward. Three arginine residues, a histidine, and a methionine are involved in the coordination of uroporphyrinogen III. Through site-directed mutagenesis of the nirE gene and biochemical characterization of the corresponding NirE variants the amino acid residues Arg-111, Glu-114, and Arg-149 were identified to be involved in NirE catalysis. Based on our structural and biochemical findings, we propose a potential catalytic mechanism for NirE in which the methyl transfer reaction is initiated by an arginine catalyzed proton abstraction from the C-20 position of the substrate.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2011; 286(30):26754-67. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Sonja Storbeck, Gunhild Layer
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    ABSTRACT: Die Biosynthese von Häm d 1 in denitrifizierenden Bakterien und Häm in Archaea verläuft ungewübnlicherweise über die methylierte Vorstufe Precorrin-2. Die beteiligten Uroporphyrinogen-III-Methyltransferasen nutzen Arginin als katalytisch aktive Base. The biosynthesis of heme d 1 in denitrifying bacteria and heme in the Archaea proceeds via the methylated intermediate precorrin-2. The involved uroporphyrinogen III methyltransferases utilize arginine as catalytically active base.
    BioSpektrum 01/2011; 17(6):637-640.
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    ABSTRACT: Tetrapyrroles like hemes, chlorophylls, and cobalamin are complex macrocycles which play essential roles in almost all living organisms. Heme serves as prosthetic group of many proteins involved in fundamental biological processes like respiration, photosynthesis, and the metabolism and transport of oxygen. Further, enzymes such as catalases, peroxidases, or cytochromes P450 rely on heme as essential cofactors. Heme is synthesized in most organisms via a highly conserved biosynthetic route. In humans, defects in heme biosynthesis lead to severe metabolic disorders called porphyrias. The elucidation of the 3D structures for all heme biosynthetic enzymes over the last decade provided new insights into their function and elucidated the structural basis of many known diseases. In terms of structure and function several rather unique proteins were revealed such as the V-shaped glutamyl-tRNA reductase, the dipyrromethane cofactor containing porphobilinogen deaminase, or the "Radical SAM enzyme" coproporphyrinogen III dehydrogenase. This review summarizes the current understanding of the structure-function relationship for all heme biosynthetic enzymes and their potential interactions in the cell.
    Protein Science 06/2010; 19(6):1137-61. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heme is an essential prosthetic group for many proteins involved in fundamental biological processes in all three domains of life. In Eukaryota and Bacteria heme is formed via a conserved and well-studied biosynthetic pathway. Surprisingly, in Archaea heme biosynthesis proceeds via an alternative route which is poorly understood. In order to formulate a working hypothesis for this novel pathway, we searched 59 completely sequenced archaeal genomes for the presence of gene clusters consisting of established heme biosynthetic genes and colocalized conserved candidate genes. Within the majority of archaeal genomes it was possible to identify such heme biosynthesis gene clusters. From this analysis we have been able to identify several novel heme biosynthesis genes that are restricted to archaea. Intriguingly, several of the encoded proteins display similarity to enzymes involved in heme d(1) biosynthesis. To initiate an experimental verification of our proposals two Methanosarcina barkeri proteins predicted to catalyze the initial steps of archaeal heme biosynthesis were recombinantly produced, purified, and their predicted enzymatic functions verified.
    Archaea 01/2010; 2010:175050. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During heme biosynthesis the oxygen-independent coproporphyrinogen III oxidase HemN catalyzes the oxidative decarboxylation of the two propionate side chains on rings A and B of coproporphyrinogen III to the corresponding vinyl groups to yield protoporphyrinogen IX. Here, the sequence of the two decarboxylation steps during HemN catalysis was investigated. A reaction intermediate of HemN activity was isolated by HPLC analysis and identified as monovinyltripropionic acid porphyrin by mass spectrometry. This monovinylic reaction intermediate exhibited identical chromatographic behavior during HPLC analysis as harderoporphyrin (3-vinyl-8,13,17-tripropionic acid-2,7,12,18-tetramethylporphyrin). Furthermore, HemN was able to utilize chemically synthesized harderoporphyrinogen as substrate and converted it to protoporphyrinogen IX. These results suggest that during HemN catalysis the propionate side chain of ring A of coproporphyrinogen III is decarboxylated prior to that of ring B.
    Biological Chemistry 11/2009; 391(1):55-63. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Biosynthesis of heme d(1), the essential prosthetic group of the dissimilatory nitrite reductase cytochrome cd(1), requires the methylation of the tetrapyrrole precursor uroporphyrinogen III at positions C-2 and C-7. We produced Pseudomonas aeruginosa NirE, a putative S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM)-dependent uroporphyrinogen III methyltransferase, as a recombinant protein in Escherichia coli and purified it to apparent homogeneity by metal chelate and gel filtration chromatography. Analytical gel filtration of purified NirE indicated that the recombinant protein is a homodimer. NirE was shown to be a SAM-dependent uroporphyrinogen III methyltransferase that catalyzes the conversion of uroporphyrinogen III into precorrin-2 in vivo and in vitro. A specific activity of 316.8 nmol of precorrin-2 h(-1) x mg(-1) of NirE was found for the conversion of uroporphyrinogen III to precorrin-2. At high enzyme concentrations NirE catalyzed an overmethylation of uroporphyrinogen III, resulting in the formation of trimethylpyrrocorphin. Substrate inhibition was observed at uroporphyrinogen III concentrations above 17 microM. The protein did bind SAM, although not with the same avidity as reported for other SAM-dependent uroporphyrinogen III methyltransferases involved in siroheme and cobalamin biosynthesis. A P. aeruginosa nirE transposon mutant was not complemented by native cobA encoding the SAM-dependent uroporphyrinogen III methyltransferase involved in cobalamin formation. However, bacterial growth of the nirE mutant was observed when cobA was constitutively expressed by a complementing plasmid, underscoring the special requirement of NirE for heme d(1) biosynthesis.
    FEBS Journal 09/2009; 276(20):5973-82. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The oxygen regulator Fnr is part of the regulatory cascade in Bacillus subtilis for the adaptation to anaerobic growth conditions. In vivo complementation experiments revealed the essential role of only three cysteine residues (C227, C230, C235) at the C-terminus of B. subtilis Fnr for the transcriptional activation of the nitrate reductase operon (narGHJI) and nitrite extrusion protein gene (narK) promoters. UV/VIS, electron paramagnetic spin resonance (EPR) and Mössbauer spectroscopy experiments in combination with iron and sulphide content determinations using anaerobically purified recombinant B. subtilis Fnr identified the role of these three cysteine residues in the formation of one [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster per Fnr molecule. The obtained Mössbauer parameters are supportive for a [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster with three cysteine ligated iron sites and one non-cysteine ligated iron site. Gel filtration experiments revealed a stable dimeric structure for B. subtilis Fnr which is independent of the presence of the [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster. Gel mobility shift and in vitro transcription assays demonstrated the essential role of an intact [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster for promoter binding and transcriptional activation. An amino acid exchange introduced in the proposed alphaD-helix of B. subtilis Fnr (G149S) abolished its in vivo and in vitro activities indicating its importance for intramolecular signal transduction. The clear differences in the localization and coordination of the [4Fe-4S] cluster and in the organization of the oligomeric state between Escherichia coli and B. subtilis Fnr indicate differences in their mode of action.
    Molecular Microbiology 07/2006; 60(6):1432-45. · 4.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During porphyrin biosynthesis the oxygen-independent coproporphyrinogen III oxidase (HemN) catalyzes the oxidative decarboxylation of the propionate side chains of rings A and B of coproporphyrinogen III to form protoporphyrinogen IX. The enzyme utilizes a 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical to initiate the decarboxylation reaction, and it has been proposed that this occurs by stereo-specific abstraction of the pro-S-hydrogen atom at the beta-position of the propionate side chains leading to a substrate radical. Here we provide EPR-spectroscopic evidence for intermediacy of the latter radical by observation of an organic radical EPR signal in reduced HemN upon addition of S-adenosyl-L-methionine and the substrate coproporphyrinogen III. This signal (g(av) = 2.0029) shows a complex pattern of well resolved hyperfine splittings from at least five different hydrogen atoms. The radical was characterized using regiospecifically labeled (deuterium or 15N) coproporphyrinogen III molecules. They had been generated from a multienzyme mixture and served as efficient substrates. Reaction of HemN with coproporphyrinogen III, perdeuterated except for the methyl groups, led to the complete loss of resolved proton hyperfine splittings. Substrates in which the hydrogens at both alpha- and beta-positions, or only at the beta-positions of the propionate side chains, or those of the methylene bridges, were deuterated showed that there is coupling with hydrogens at the alpha-, beta-, and methylene bridge positions. Deuterium or 15N labeling of the pyrrole nitrogens without labeling the side chains only led to a slight sharpening of the radical signal. Together, these observations clearly identified the radical signal as substrate-derived and indicated that, upon abstraction of the pro-S-hydrogen atom at the beta-position of the propionate side chain by the 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical, a comparatively stable delocalized substrate radical intermediate is formed in the absence of electron acceptors. The observed hyperfine constants and g values show that this coproporphyrinogenyl radical is allylic and encompasses carbon atoms 3', 3, and 4.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2006; 281(23):15727-34. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Radical SAM enzymes have only recently been recognized as an ancient family sharing an unusual radical-based reaction mechanism. This late appreciation is due to the extreme oxygen sensitivity of most radical SAM enzymes, making their characterization particularly arduous. Nevertheless, realization that the novel apposition of the established cofactors S-adenosylmethionine and [4Fe-4S] cluster creates an explosive source of catalytic radicals, the appreciation of the sheer size of this previously neglected family, and the rapid succession of three successfully solved crystal structures within a year have ensured that this family has belatedly been noted. In this review, we report the characterization of two enzymes: the established radical SAM enzyme, HemN or oxygen-independent coproporphyrinogen III oxidase from Escherichia coli, and littorine mutase, a presumed radical SAM enzyme, responsible for the conversion of littorine to hyoscyamine in plants. The enzymes are compared to other radical SAM enzymes and in particular the three reported crystal structures from this family, HemN, biotin synthase and MoaA, are discussed.
    Biological Chemistry 11/2005; 386(10):971-80. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) radical enzyme oxygen-independent coproporphyrinogen III oxidase HemN catalyzes the oxidative decarboxylation of coproporphyrinogen III to protoporphyrinogen IX during bacterial heme biosynthesis. The recently solved crystal structure of Escherichia coli HemN revealed the presence of an unusually coordinated iron-sulfur cluster and two molecules of AdoMet. EPR spectroscopy of the reduced iron-sulfur center in anaerobically purified HemN in the absence of AdoMet has revealed a [4Fe-4S](1+) cluster in two slightly different conformations. Mössbauer spectroscopy of anaerobically purified HemN has identified a predominantly [4Fe-4S](2+) cluster in which only three iron atoms were coordinated by cysteine residues (isomer shift of delta = 0.43 (1) mm/s). The fourth non-cysteine-ligated iron exhibited a delta = 0.57 (3) mm/s, which shifted to a delta = 0.68 (3) mm/s upon addition of AdoMet. Substrate binding by HemN did not alter AdoMet coordination to the cluster. Multiple rounds of AdoMet cleavage with the formation of the reaction product methionine indicated AdoMet consumption during catalysis and identified AdoMet as a co-substrate for HemN catalysis. AdoMet cleavage was found to be dependent on the presence of the substrate coproporphyrinogen III. Two molecules of AdoMet were cleaved during one catalytic cycle for the formation of one molecule of protoporphyrinogen IX. Finally, the binding site for the unusual second, non iron-sulfur cluster coordinating AdoMet molecule (AdoMet2) was targeted using site-directed mutagenesis. All AdoMet2 binding site mutants still contained an iron-sulfur cluster and most still exhibited AdoMet cleavage, albeit reduced compared with the wild-type enzyme. However, all mutants lost their overall catalytic ability indicating a functional role for AdoMet2 in HemN catalysis. The reported significant correlation of structural and functional biophysical and biochemical data identifies HemN as a useful model system for the elucidation of general AdoMet radical enzyme features.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2005; 280(32):29038-46. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 'Radical SAM' enzymes juxtapose a [4Fe-4S] cluster and S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) to generate catalytic 5'-deoxyadenosyl radicals. The crystal structures of oxygen-independent coproporphyrinogen III oxidase HemN and biotin synthase reveal the positioning of both cofactors with respect to each other and relative to the surrounding protein environment. Each is found in an unprecedented coordination environment including the direct ligation of the [4Fe-4S] cluster by the amino nitrogen and one carboxylate oxygen of the methionine moiety of SAM, as observed for other members of the Radical SAM family by ENDOR. The availability of two protein structures supported by biochemical and biophysical data underscores common features, anticipating the structural elements of other family members. Remaining differences emphasize the plasticity of the protein scaffold in functionally accommodating 600 family members.
    Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 11/2004; 8(5):468-76. · 9.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cytoplasmic membrane protein CcmC is, together with other Ccm proteins, a component for the maturation of c-type cytochromes in Gram-negative bacteria. A Pseudomonas fluorescens ATCC 17400 ccmC mutant is cytochrome c-deficient and shows considerably reduced production of the two siderophores pyoverdine and quinolobactin, paralleled by a general inability to utilize various iron sources, with the exception of haem. The ccmC mutant accumulates in a 5-aminolevulinic acid-dependent synthesis a reddish, fluorescent pigment identified as protoporphyrin IX. As a consequence a visA phenotype similar to that of a ferrochelatase-deficient hemH mutant characterized by drastically reduced growth upon light exposure was observed for the ccmC mutant. The defect of iron-protoporphyrin formation was further demonstrated by the failure of ccmC cell-free proteinase K-treated extracts to stimulate the growth of a haem auxotrophic hemH indicator strain, compared to similarly prepared wild-type extracts. In addition, the ccmC mutant did not sustain hemH growth in cross-feeding experiments while the wild-type did. Significantly reduced resistance to oxidative stress mediated by haem-containing catalases was observed for the ccmC mutant. A double hemH ccmC mutant could not be obtained in the presence of external haem without the hemH gene in trans, indicating that the combination of the two mutations is lethal. It was concluded that CcmC, apart from its known function in cytochrome c biogenesis, plays a role in haem biosynthesis. A function in the regulatory co-ordination of iron acquisition via siderophores, iron insertion into porphyrin via ferrochelatase and iron-protoporphyrin export for cytochrome c formation is predicted.
    Microbiology 01/2004; 149(Pt 12):3543-52. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 'Radical SAM' enzymes generate catalytic radicals by combining a 4Fe-4S cluster and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) in close proximity. We present the first crystal structure of a Radical SAM enzyme, that of HemN, the Escherichia coli oxygen-independent coproporphyrinogen III oxidase, at 2.07 A resolution. HemN catalyzes the essential conversion of coproporphyrinogen III to protoporphyrinogen IX during heme biosynthesis. HemN binds a 4Fe-4S cluster through three cysteine residues conserved in all Radical SAM enzymes. A juxtaposed SAM coordinates the fourth Fe ion through its amide nitrogen and carboxylate oxygen. The SAM sulfonium sulfur is near both the Fe (3.5 A) and a neighboring sulfur of the cluster (3.6 A), allowing single electron transfer from the 4Fe-4S cluster to the SAM sulfonium. SAM is cleaved yielding a highly oxidizing 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical. HemN, strikingly, binds a second SAM immediately adjacent to the first. It may thus successively catalyze two propionate decarboxylations. The structure of HemN reveals the cofactor geometry required for Radical SAM catalysis and sets the stage for the development of inhibitors with antibacterial function due to the uniquely bacterial occurrence of the enzyme.
    The EMBO Journal 01/2004; 22(23):6214-24. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During heme biosynthesis in Escherichia coli two structurally unrelated enzymes, one oxygen-dependent (HemF) and one oxygen-independent (HemN), are able to catalyze the oxidative decarboxylation of coproporphyrinogen III to form protoporphyrinogen IX. Oxygen-dependent coproporphyrinogen III oxidase was produced by overexpression of the E. coli hemF in E. coli and purified to apparent homogeneity. The dimeric enzyme showed a Km value of 2.6 microm for coproporphyrinogen III with a kcat value of 0.17 min-1 at its optimal pH of 6. HemF does not utilize protoporphyrinogen IX or coproporphyrin III as substrates and is inhibited by protoporphyrin IX. Molecular oxygen is essential for the enzymatic reaction. Single turnover experiments with oxygen-loaded HemF under anaerobic conditions demonstrated electron acceptor function for oxygen during the oxidative decarboxylation reaction with the concomitant formation of H2O2. Metal chelator treatment inactivated E. coli HemF. Only the addition of manganese fully restored coproporphyrinogen III oxidase activity. Evidence for the involvement of four highly conserved histidine residues (His-96, His-106, His-145, and His-175) in manganese coordination was obtained. One catalytically important tryptophan residue was localized in position 274. None of the tested highly conserved cysteine (Cys-167), tyrosine (Tyr-135, Tyr-160, Tyr-170, Tyr-213, Tyr-240, and Tyr-276), and tryptophan residues (Trp-36, Trp-123, Trp-166, and Trp-298) were found important for HemF activity. Moreover, mutation of a potential nucleotide binding motif (GGGXXTP) did not affect HemF activity. Two alternative routes for HemF-mediated catalysis, one metal-dependent, the other metal-independent, are proposed.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2003; 278(47):46625-31. · 4.65 Impact Factor