The blue dissimilatory nitrite reductase (NiR) from Alcaligenes xylosoxidans is a trimer containing two types of Cu centre, three type 1 electron transfer centres and three type 2 centres. The latter have been implicated in the binding and reduction of nitrite. The Cu ion of the type 2 centre of the oxidized enzyme is ligated by three His residues, and additionally has a co-ordinated water molecule that is also hydrogen-bonded to the carboxyl of Asp92 [Dodd, Van Beeumen, Eady and Hasnain (1998), J. Mol. Biol. 282, 369Ő382]. Two mutations of this residue have been made, one to a glutamic acid residue and a second to an asparagine residue; the effects of both mutations on the spectroscopic and catalytic properties of the enzyme have been analysed. EPR spectroscopy revealed that both mutants retained intact type 1 Cu centres with g‖ = 2.12 (A‖ = 0mT) and g⊥ = 2.30 (A⊥ = 6.4mT), which was consistent with their blue colour, but differed in their activities and in the spectroscopic properties of the type 2 centres. The D92E mutant had an altered geometry of its type 2 centre such that nitrite was no longer capable of binding to elicit changes in the EPR parameters of this centre. Accordingly, this mutation resulted in a form of NiR that had very low enzyme activity with the artificial electron donors reduced Methyl Viologen and sodium dithionite. As isolated, the EPR spectrum of the Asp92 → Asn (D92N) mutant showed no characteristic type 2hyperfine lines. However, oxidation with iridium hexachloride partly restored a type 2 EPR signal, suggesting that type 2 copper is present in the enzyme but in a reduced, EPR-silent form. Like the Asp92 → Glu mutant, D92N had very low enzyme activities with either Methyl Viologen or dithionite. Remarkably, when the physiological electron donor reduced azurin I was used, both mutant proteins exhibited restoration of enzyme activity. The degree of restoration differed for the two mutants, with the D92N derivative exhibiting approx. 60% of the activity seen for the wild-type NiR. These findings suggest that on formation of an electron transfer complex with azurin, a conformational change in NiR occurs that returns the catalytic Cu centre to a functionally active state capable of binding and reducing nitrite.
- EPR spectroscopy
- The Biochemical Society, London © 2001