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J Biol Chem. 1986 Dec 25;261(36):17048-56.

Cytochrome aa3 from Nitrosomonas europaea.


Cytochrome c oxidase has been purified from the ammonia oxidizing chemoautotroph Nitrosomonas europaea by ion-exchange chromatography in the presence of Triton X-100. The enzyme has absorption maxima at 420 and 592 nm in the resting state and at 444 and 598 nm in the dithionite-reduced form; optical extinction coefficient (598 nm minus 640 nm) = 21.9 cm-1 nM-1. The enzyme has approximately 11 nmol of heme a and approximately 11 nmol of copper per mg of protein (Lowry procedure). There appear to be three subunits (approximate molecular weights 50,800, 38,400, and 35,500), two heme groups (a and a3), and two copper atoms per minimal unit. The EPR spectra of the resting and partially reduced enzyme are remarkably similar to the corresponding spectra of the mitochondrial cytochrome aa3-type oxidase. Although the enzyme had been previously classified as "cytochrome a1" on the basis of its ferrous alpha absorption maximum (598 nm), its metal content and EPR spectral properties clearly show that it is better classified as a cytochrome aa3. Neither the data reported here nor a review of the literature supports the existence of cytochrome a1 as an entity discrete from cytochrome aa3. The purified enzyme is reduced rapidly by ferrous horse heart cytochrome c or cytochrome c-554 from N. europaea, but not with cytochrome c-552 from N. europaea. The identity of the natural electron donor is as yet unestablished. With horse heart cytochrome c as electron donor, the purified enzyme could account for a significant portion of the terminal oxidase activity in vivo.

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