National Center for
4KNT: Copper Nitrite Reductase From Nitrosomonas Europaea Ph 8.5
J. Biol. Chem. (2013) 288 p.25575-25583
Nitrifier denitrification is the conversion of nitrite to nitrous oxide by ammonia-oxidizing organisms. This process, which is distinct from denitrification, is active under aerobic conditions in the model nitrifier Nitrosomonas europaea. The central enzyme of the nitrifier dentrification pathway is a copper nitrite reductase (CuNIR). To understand how a CuNIR, typically inactivated by oxygen, functions in this pathway, the enzyme isolated directly from N. europaea (NeNIR) was biochemically and structurally characterized. NeNIR reduces nitrite at a similar rate to other CuNIRs but appears to be oxygen tolerant. Crystal structures of oxidized and reduced NeNIR reveal a substrate channel to the active site that is much more restricted than channels in typical CuNIRs. In addition, there is a second fully hydrated channel leading to the active site that likely acts a water exit pathway. The structure is minimally affected by changes in pH. Taken together, these findings provide insight into the molecular basis for NeNIR oxygen tolerance.