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J Biol Chem. 2013 Apr 5;288(14):10166-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.418475. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase type 2 (mPGES2) is a glutathione-dependent heme protein, and dithiothreitol dissociates the bound heme to produce active prostaglandin E2 synthase in vitro.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7534, USA.


An x-ray study indicated that microsomal prostaglandin E synthase type 2 (mPGES2) is a heme-bound protein and catalyzes prostaglandin (PG) H2 degradation, but not PGE2 formation (Yamada, T., and Takusagawa, F. (2007) Biochemistry 46, 8414-8424). In response to the x-ray study, Watanabe et al. claimed that mPGES2 is a heme-free protein and that both the heme-free and heme-bound proteins have PGE2 synthesis activity in the presence of dithiothreitol (Watanabe, K., Ito, S., and Yamamoto, S. (2008) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 367, 782-786). To resolve the contradictory results, the heme-binding scheme of mPGES2 was further characterized in vivo and in vitro by absorption and fluorescence spectroscopies. A substantial amount of heme-bound mPGES2 was detected in cell extracts. The heme content in mPGES2 was increased along with an increase in Fe(3+) in the culture medium. Heme-free mPGES2 was converted to the heme-bound form by mixing it with pig liver extract, indicating that mPGES2 is capable of forming a complex with heme in mammalian cells. Heme binds to mPGES2 only in the presence of glutathione. The newly determined heme dissociation constant (2.9 nM) supports strongly that mPGES2 is a heme-bound protein in vivo. The bound heme was not dissociated by oxidation by H2O2 or reduction by glutathione or 2-mercaptoethanol. However, reduction by dithiothreitol (an artificial reducing compound) induced the bound heme to dissociate from mPGES2 and released heme-free mPGES2, which exhibited PGE2 synthesis activity in vitro. Imidazole bound to mPGES2 by stacking on the bound heme and inhibited heme oxidation by H2O2 and reduction by dithiothreitol.

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