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J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 9;276(10):7272-7. Epub 2000 Nov 22.

Flavohemoglobin, a globin with a peroxidase-like catalytic site.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Biochemical studies of flavohemoglobin (Hmp) from Escherichia coli suggest that instead of aerobic oxygen delivery, a dioxygenase converts NO to NO3(-) and anaerobically, an NO reductase converts NO to N(2)O. To investigate the structural features underlying the chemical reactivity of Hmp, we have measured the resonance Raman spectra of the ligand-free ferric and ferrous protein and the CO derivatives of the ferrous protein. At neutral pH, the ferric protein has a five-coordinate high-spin heme, similar to peroxidases. In the ferrous protein, a strong iron-histidine stretching mode is present at 244 cm(-1). This frequency is much higher than that of any other globin discovered to date, although it is comparable to those of peroxidases, suggesting that the proximal histidine has imidazolate character. In the CO derivative, an open and a closed conformation were detected. The distal environment of the closed conformation is very polar, where the heme-bound CO strongly interacts with the B10 Tyr and/or the E7 Gln. These data demonstrate that the active site structure of Hmp is very similar to that of peroxidases and is tailored to perform oxygen chemistry.

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