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Biochemistry. 2005 Oct 4;44(39):13179-91.

Characterization of the periplasmic heme-binding protein shut from the heme uptake system of Shigella dysenteriae.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, 20 Penn Street, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


The heme uptake systems by which bacterial pathogens acquire and utilize heme have recently been described. Such systems may utilize heme directly from the host's hemeproteins or via a hemophore that sequesters and transports heme to an outer membrane receptor and subsequently to the translocating proteins by which heme is further transported into the cell. However, little is known of the heme binding and release mechanisms that facilitate the uptake of heme into the pathogenic organism. As a first step toward elucidating the molecular level events that drive heme binding and release, we have undertaken a spectroscopic and mutational study of the first purified periplasmic heme-binding protein (PBP), ShuT from Shigella dysenteriae. On the basis of sequence identity, the ShuT protein is most closely related to the class of PBPs typified by the vitamin B(12) (BtuF) and iron-hydroxamate (FhuD) PBPs and is a monomeric protein having a molecular mass of 28.5 kDa following proteolytic processing of the periplasmic signaling peptide. ShuT binds one b-type heme per monomer with high affinity and bears no significant homology with other known heme proteins. The resonance Raman, MCD, and UV-visible spectra of WT heme-ShuT are consistent with a five-coordinate high spin heme having an anionic O-bound proximal ligand. Site-directed ShuT mutants of the absolutely conserved Tyr residues, Tyr-94 (Y94A) and Tyr-228 (Y228F), which are found in all putative periplasmic heme-binding proteins, were subjected to UV-visible, resonance Raman, and MCD spectroscopic investigations of heme coordination environment and rates of heme release. The results of these experiments confirmed Tyr-94 as the only axial heme ligand and Tyr-228 as making a significant contribution to the stability of heme-loaded ShuT, albeit without directly interacting with the heme iron.

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