Experimental studies of proton translocation reactions in biological systems Electrogenic events in heme-copper oxidases
Sammanfattning: Terminal heme-copper oxidases (HCuOs) are transmembrane proteins that catalyze the final step in the respiratory chain - the reduction of O2 to H2O, coupled to energy conservation by generation of an electrochemical proton gradient. The most extensively investigated of the HCuOs are the aa3-type oxidases, to which cytochrome c oxidase (CytcO) belongs, which uses energy released in the O2-reduction for proton pumping. The bacterial nitric oxide reductases (NORs) have been identified as divergent members of the HCuO-superfamily and are involved in the denitrification pathway where they catalyze the reduction of NO to NO2. Although as exergonic as O2-reduction, this reaction is completely non-electrogenic. Among the traditional HCuOs, the cbb3-type oxidases are the closest relatives to the NORs and as such provide a link between the aa3 oxidases and the NORs. The cbb3 oxidases have been shown to pump protons with nearly the same efficiency as the aa3 oxidases, despite low sequence similarity.This thesis is focused on measurements of membrane potential generating reactions during catalysis in the CytcO and the cbb3 oxidase from Rhodobacter sphaeroides, and the NOR from Paracoccus denitrificans, using a time resolved electrometric technique. The pH dependence of the membrane potential generation in CytcO showed that only one proton is taken up and that no protons are pumped, at high pH. An additional kinetic phase was also detected at high pH that presumably originates to from charge-transfer within the K-pathway. Possible reasons for uncoupling, and the extent of charge-transfer, were studied using structural variants of CytcO. The measurements established that electrons and protons are taken up from the same side of the membrane in NOR. In addition, the directionality for proton uptake in cbb3 oxidase appeared to be dependent on the choice of substrate while proton pumping was indicated to occur only during O2-reduction.
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