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J Biol Chem. 2013 Nov 1;288(44):31556-66. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.497297. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

The vitamin K oxidoreductase is a multimer that efficiently reduces vitamin K epoxide to hydroquinone to allow vitamin K-dependent protein carboxylation.

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From the Departments of Molecular Cardiology and.


The vitamin K oxidoreductase (VKORC1) recycles vitamin K to support the activation of vitamin K-dependent (VKD) proteins, which have diverse functions that include hemostasis and calcification. VKD proteins are activated by Glu carboxylation, which depends upon the oxygenation of vitamin K hydroquinone (KH2). The vitamin K epoxide (KO) product is recycled by two reactions, i.e. KO reduction to vitamin K quinone (K) and then to KH2, and recent studies have called into question whether VKORC1 reduces K to KH2. Analysis in insect cells lacking endogenous carboxylation components showed that r-VKORC1 reduces KO to efficiently drive carboxylation, indicating KH2 production. Direct detection of the vitamin K reaction products is confounded by KH2 oxidation, and we therefore developed a new assay that stabilized KH2 and allowed quantitation. Purified VKORC1 analyzed in this assay showed efficient KO to KH2 reduction. Studies in 293 cells expressing tagged r-VKORC1 revealed that VKORC1 is a multimer, most likely a dimer. A monomer can only perform one reaction, and a dimer is therefore interesting in explaining how VKORC1 accomplishes both reactions. An inactive mutant (VKORC1(C132A/C135A)) was dominant negative in heterodimers with wild type VKORC1, resulting in decreased KO reduction in cells and carboxylation in vitro. The results are significant regarding human VKORC1 mutations, as warfarin-resistant patients have mutant and wild type VKORC1 alleles. A VKORC1 dimer indicates a mixed population of homodimers and heterodimers that may have different functional properties, and VKORC1 reduction may therefore be more complex in these patients than appreciated previously.


Enzyme Mechanisms; Membrane Enzymes; Protein Carboxylation; Reductase; Vitamins and Cofactors

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