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Biochemistry. 2005 Jan 25;44(3):979-86.

Heme binding to the histidine-rich protein II from Plasmodium falciparum.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720-1460, USA.


The histidine-rich protein II (HRP II) from Plasmodium falciparum has been implicated in the formation of hemozoin, a detoxified, crystalline form of ferric protoporphyrin IX (Fe(3+)-PPIX) produced by the parasite. Fe(3+)-PPIX titrations coupled with quantitative amino acid analysis showed that HRP II binds 15 Fe(3+)-PPIX molecules per 30 kDa monomer. Circular dichroism spectroscopy was used to probe the secondary structure of HRP II with and without bound Fe(3+)-PPIX. These studies have revealed large changes in the secondary structure with Fe(3+)-PPIX binding, changing from a random coil in the absence of Fe(3+)-PPIX to a more ordered helical structure in the presence of Fe(3+)-PPIX. The Fe(3+)-PPIX-bound HRP II structure most closely resembles a 3(10)-helix. Coincident with this structural change caused by Fe(3+)-PPIX binding, the formation of an intermolecular disulfide bond occurs between HRP II monomers. In vitro pull-down assays show an interaction between monomers that is dependent on the presence of Fe(3+)-PPIX. One model that best fits with the data reported here requires formation of 15 intermolecular bishistidyl ligated Fe(3+)-PPIX molecules arranged in a head to head fashion, which would then allow for the formation of an intermolecular disulfide bond. The structure best able to accommodate these requirements is a 3(10)-helix.

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