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Protein Expr Purif. 2001 Nov;23(2):348-58.

Production of a recombinant hybrid hemoflavoprotein: engineering a functional NADH:cytochrome c reductase.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida 33612, USA.


A gene has been constructed coding for a unique fusion protein, NADH:cytochrome c reductase, that comprises the soluble heme-containing domain of rat hepatic cytochrome b(5) as the amino-terminal portion of the protein and the soluble flavin-containing domain of rat hepatic cytochrome b(5) reductase as the carboxyl terminus. The gene has been expressed in Escherichia coli resulting in the highly efficient production of a functional hybrid hemoflavoprotein which has been purified to homogeneity by a combination of ammonium sulfate precipitation, affinity chromatography on 5'-ADP agarose, and size-exclusion chromatography. The purified protein exhibited a molecular mass of approximately 46 kDa by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and 40,875 Da, for the apoprotein, using mass spectrometry which also confirmed the presence of both heme and FAD prosthetic groups. The fusion protein showed immunological cross-reactivity with both anti-rat cytochrome b(5) and anti-rat cytochrome b(5) reductase antibodies indicating the conservation of antigenic determinants from both native domains. Spectroscopic analysis indicated the fusion protein contained both a b-type cytochrome and flavin chromophors with properties identical to those of the native proteins. Amino-terminal and internal amino acid sequencing confirmed the identity of peptides derived from both the heme- and flavin-binding domains with sequences identical to the deduced amino acid sequence. The isolated fusion protein retained NADH:ferricyanide reductase activity (k(cat) = 8.00 x 10(2) s(-1), K(NADH)(m) = 4 microM, K(FeCN(6))(m) = 11 microM) comparable to that of that of native NADH:cytochrome b(5) reductase and also exhibited both NADH:cytochrome c reductase activity (k(cat) = 2.17 x 10(2) s(-1), K(NADH)(m) = 2 microM, K(FeCN(6))(m) = 11 microM, K(Cyt.c)(m) = 1 microM) and NADH:methemoglobin reductase activity (k(cat) = 4.40 x 10(-1) s(-1), K(NADH)(m) = 3 microM, K(mHb)(m) = 47 microM), the latter two activities indicating efficient electron transfer from FAD to heme and retention of physiological function. This work represents the first successful bacterial expression of a soluble, catalytically competent, rat hepatic cytochrome b(5)-cytochrome b(5) reductase fusion protein that retains the functional properties characteristic of the individual heme and flavin domain.

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