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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 May-Jun;1757(5-6):395-400. Epub 2006 May 19.

Reaction mechanism of bovine heart cytochrome c oxidase.

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Department of Life Science, University of Hyogo, Kamigohri Akoh, Hyogo 678-1297, Japan.


The 1.9 A resolution X-ray structure of the O2 reduction site of bovine heart cytochrome c oxidase in the fully reduced state indicates trigonal planar coordination of CuB by three histidine residues. One of the three histidine residues has a covalent link to a tyrosine residue to ensure retention of the tyrosine at the O2 reduction site. These moieties facilitate a four electron reduction of O2, and prevent formation of active oxygen species. The combination of a redox-coupled conformational change of an aspartate residue (Asp51) located near the intermembrane surface of the enzyme molecule and the existence of a hydrogen bond network connecting Asp51 to the matrix surface suggest that the proton-pumping process is mediated at Asp51. Mutation analyses using a gene expression system of the Asp51-containing enzyme subunit yield results in support of the proposal that Asp51 plays a critical role in the proton pumping process.

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