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Biochemistry. 2017 May 30;56(21):2723-2734. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00152. Epub 2017 May 11.

Heme Proximal Hydrogen Bonding between His170 and Asp132 Plays an Essential Role in the Heme Degradation Reaction of HutZ from Vibrio cholerae.

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Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University , Sapporo 060-0810, Japan.
Graduate School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Hokkaido University , Sapporo 060-8628, Japan.


HutZ from Vibrio cholerae is an enzyme that catalyzes the oxygen-dependent degradation of heme. The crystal structure of the homologous protein from Helicobacter pylori, HugZ, predicts that Asp132 in HutZ is located within hydrogen-bonding distance of the heme axial ligand His170. Hydrogen bonding between His170 and Asp132 appears to be disfavored in heme-degrading enzymes, because it can contribute to the imidazolate character of the axial histidine, as observed in most heme-containing peroxidases. Thus, we investigated the role of this potential hydrogen bond in the heme degradation reaction by mutating Asp132 to Leu, Asn, or Glu and by mutating His170 to Ala. Heme degradation activity was almost completely lost in D132L and D132N mutants, whereas verdoheme formation through reaction with H2O2 was comparable in the D132E mutant and wild-type enzyme. However, even at pH 6.0, when the heme is in a high-spin state, the D132E mutant was inactive toward ascorbic acid because of a significant reduction in its affinity (Kd) for heme (4.1 μM) compared with that at pH 8.0 (0.027 μM). The heme degradation activity of the H170A mutant was also substantially reduced, although this mutant bound heme with a Kd of 0.067 μM, despite the absence of an axial ligand. Thus, this study showed that proximal hydrogen bonding between Asp132 and His170 plays a role in retaining the heme in an appropriate position for oxygen-dependent heme degradation.

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