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Eur J Biochem. 1990 Oct 5;193(1):55-9.

Protozoan myoglobin from Paramecium caudatum. Its autoxidation reaction and hemichrome formation.

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Biological Institute, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University, Japan.


Native oxymyoglobin (MbO2) was isolated directly from the cells of Paramecium caudatum with complete separation from metmyoglobin (metMb) on a DEAE-cellulose column. It was examined for its spectral and stability properties. When compared with sperm whale MbO2 used as a reference, Paramecium MbO2 was found to be much more susceptible to autoxidation over a wide range of pH (4-11) in 0.1 M buffer at 25 degrees C. Kinetic analysis has revealed that a proton-catalyzed displacement of O2- from MbO2 by an entering water molecule can play a dominant role in the autoxidation reaction of Paramecium MbO2 to metMb, as in the case of sperm whale MbO2 involving the distal histidine as its catalytic residue. At pH values higher than 9.5, however, Paramecium MbO2 was found to be oxidized to yield a hemichrome. The spontaneous formation of hemichromes is at variance with the other known myoglobins and is therefore discussed in relation to the unusual amino acid sequence of Paramecium myoglobin having a large number of deletion.

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