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J Biol Chem. 1991 Apr 25;266(12):7531-6.

Role of cysteine residues in human NADH-cytochrome b5 reductase studied by site-directed mutagenesis. Cys-273 and Cys-283 are located close to the NADH-binding site but are not catalytically essential.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Medical College of Oita, Japan.


Human NADH-cytochrome b5 reductase (EC contains 4 cyteine residues (Cys-203, -273, -283, and -297). Cys-283 was previously proposed to be involved in NADH binding by chemical modification (Hackett, C. S., Novoa, W. B., Ozols, J., and Strittmatter, P. (1986) J. Biol. Chem. 261, 9854-9857). In the present study the role of cysteines in the enzyme was probed by replacing these residues by Ser, Ala, or Gly employing site-directed mutagenesis and chemical modification. Four mutants, in which 1 of the 4 Cys residues was replaced by Ser, retained comparable kcat and Km values to those of the wild type. All of these mutants were as sensitive as the wild type to treatment with SH modifiers, while a double mutant, C273S/C283S was resistant. Since inhibition by SH modifiers was protected by NADH, Cys-273 and Cys-283 were implicated to be close to the NADH-binding site. C273A and C273A/C283A mutants showed approximately one-fifth of the enzyme-FAD reduction rate of the wild type as revealed by steady-state kinetics and by stopped-flow analysis. Anaerobic titration has shown that reduction and re-oxidation processes including formation of the red semiquinone of these mutants were not significantly altered from those of the wild type. From these results it was concluded that none of the Cys residues of the enzyme are essential in the catalytic reaction, but Cys-273 conserved among the enzymes homologous to NADH-cytochrome b5 reductase homologous to NADH-cytochrome b5 reductase plays role(s) in facilitating the reaction. A difference spectrum with a peak at 317 nm, which was formerly considered to be derived from the interaction between NAD+ and Cys-283 of the reduced enzyme, appeared upon binding of NAD+ not only to the reduced wild type enzyme but also to the C273A/C283A mutant in which both of the Cys residues close to the NADH-binding site were replaced.

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