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Biochemistry. 2012 Feb 21;51(7):1518-31. doi: 10.1021/bi2018305. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Characterization of heme ligation properties of Rv0203, a secreted heme binding protein involved in Mycobacterium tuberculosis heme uptake.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, United States.


The secreted Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) heme binding protein Rv0203 has been shown to play a role in Mtb heme uptake. In this work, we use spectroscopic (absorption, electron paramagnetic resonance, and magnetic circular dichrosim) methods to further characterize the heme coordination environments of His-tagged and native protein forms, Rv0203-His and Rv0203-notag, respectively. Rv0203-His binds the heme molecule through bis-His coordination and is low-spin in both ferric and ferrous oxidation states. Rv0203-notag is high-spin in both oxidation states and shares spectroscopic similarity with pentacoordinate oxygen-ligated heme proteins. Mutagenesis experiments determined that residues Tyr59, His63, and His89 are required for Rv0203-notag to efficiently bind heme, reinforcing the hypothesis based on our previous structural and mutagenesis studies of Rv0203-His. While Tyr59, His63, and His89 are required for the binding of heme to Rv0203-notag, comparison of the absorption spectra of the Rv0203-notag mutants suggests the heme ligand may be the hydroxyl group of Tyr59, although an exogenous hydroxide cannot be ruled out. Additionally, we measured the heme affinities of Rv0203-His and Rv0203-notag using stopped flow techniques. The rates for binding of heme to Rv0203-His and Rv0203-notag are similar, 115 and 133 μM(-1) s(-1), respectively. However, the heme off rates differ quite dramatically, whereby Rv0203-His gives biphasic dissociation kinetics with fast and slow rates of 0.0019 and 0.0002 s(-1), respectively, and Rv0203-notag has a single off rate of 0.082 s(-1). The spectral and heme binding affinity differences between Rv0203-His and Rv0203-notag suggest that the His tag interferes with heme binding. Furthermore, these results imply that the His tag has the ability to stabilize heme binding as well as alter heme ligand coordination of Rv0203 by providing an unnatural histidine ligand. Moreover, the heme affinity of Rv0203-notag is comparable to that of other heme transport proteins, implying that Rv0203 may act as an extracellular heme transporter.

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