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Biochemistry. 2017 Feb 7;56(5):748-756. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.6b01018. Epub 2017 Jan 20.

Revisiting the Val/Ile Mutation in Mammalian and Bacterial Nitric Oxide Synthases: A Spectroscopic and Kinetic Study.

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Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell (I2BC), CEA, CNRS, Univ Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay , F-91198 Gif-sur-Yvette cedex, France.


Nitric oxide is produced in mammals by the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoforms at a catalytic site comprising a heme associated with a biopterin cofactor. Through genome sequencing, proteins that are highly homologous to the oxygenase domain of NOSs have been identified, in particular in bacteria. The active site is highly conserved except for a valine residue in the distal pocket that is replaced with an isoleucine in bacteria. This switch was previously reported to influence the kinetics of the reaction. We have used the V346I mutant of the mouse inducible NOS (iNOS) as well as the I224V mutant of the NOS from Bacillus subtilis (bsNOS) to study their spectroscopic signatures in solution and look for potential structural differences compared to their respective wild types. Both mutants seem destabilized in the absence of substrate and cofactor. When both substrate and cofactor are present, small differences can be detected with Nω-hydroxy-l-arginine compared to arginine, which is likely due to the differences in the hydrogen bonding network of the distal pocket. Stopped-flow experiments evidence significant changes in the kinetics of the reaction due to the mutation as was already known. We found these effects particularly marked for iNOS. On the basis of these results, we performed rapid freeze-quench experiments to trap the biopterin radical and found the same results that we had obtained for the wild types. Despite differences in kinetics, a radical could be trapped in both steps for the iNOS mutant but only for the first step in the mutant of bsNOS. This strengthens the hypothesis that mammalian and bacterial NOSs may have a different mechanism during the second catalytic step.

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