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Biochemistry. 1999 Mar 2;38(9):2688-96.

The cbb3 terminal oxidase of Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1: structural and functional implications for the regulation of spectral complex formation.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The University of Texas Health Science Center Medical School, Houston 77030, USA.


We have previously shown that the flow of reductant through the cbb3 terminal cytochrome c oxidase of Rhodobacter sphaeroides is essential to the repression of photosynthesis (PS) gene expression in the presence of oxygen by inhibiting the functional activity of the Prr two-component activation system. To gain further insight into the role of the cbb3 oxidase and the cognate ccoNOQP operon in the oxygen regulation of PS gene expression, we constructed nonpolar, in-frame deletions within the ccoN and ccoQ genes. Whereas mutations in ccoN, ccoQ, and ccoP resulted in PS gene expression in the presence of oxygen, only the ccoQ mutation showed both the normal flow of reductant through the cbb3 oxidase and the absence of any alteration in the relative levels of spheroidene and spheroidenone, as is observed for those mutations in the cco operon that result in the loss of terminal oxidase activity. Consistent with these findings is the observation that extra copies of the ccoNOQP operon in trans resulted in the decreased formation of both the B800-850 and B875 spectral complexes under anaerobic growth conditions. These results in conjunction with our earlier findings indicate that (1) the flow of reductant through the cbb3 terminal oxidase is a prerequisite to the regulation of PS gene expression by the Prr two-component regulatory system, (2) the CcoQ protein is involved in conveying the signal derived from reductant flow through the cbb3 terminal oxidase to the Prr regulatory pathway, (3) there is reductant flow through this terminal oxidase under anaerobic conditions, and as a result, the activity of the Prr system is still subject to cbb3 regulation, and (4) the acceptor for reductant flow through cbb3 under anaerobic conditions is in whole or in part involved in the conversion of spheroidene to spheroidenone.

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