[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Native cytochrome c (cyt c) has a compact tertiary structure with a hexacoordinated heme iron and functions in electron transport in mitochondria and apoptosis in the cytoplasm. However, the possibility that protein modifications confer additional functions to cyt c has not been explored. Disruption of methionine 80 (M80)-Fe ligation of cyt c under nitrative stress has been reported. To model this alteration and determine if it confers new properties to cyt c, a cyt c mutant (M80A) was constitutively expressed in cells. M80A-cyt c has increased peroxidase activity and is spontaneously released from mitochondria, translocating to the cytoplasm and nucleus in the absence of apoptosis. Moreover, M80A models endogenously nitrated cyt c because nitration of WT-cyt c is associated with its translocation to the cytoplasm and nucleus. Further, M80A cyt c may up-regulate protective responses to nitrative stress. Our findings raise the possibility that endogenous protein modifications that disrupt the M80-Fe ligation (such as tyrosine nitration) stimulate nuclear translocation and confer new functions to cyt c in nonapoptotic cells.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences