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Biochemistry. 2017 Aug 1;56(30):3993-4004. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00224. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Efficient Reduction of Vertebrate Cytoglobins by the Cytochrome b5/Cytochrome b5 Reductase/NADH System.

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Heart, Lung, Blood, and Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, United States.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, United States.
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, United States.


Cytoglobin is a heme-containing protein ubiquitous in mammalian tissues. Unlike the evolutionarily related proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin, cytoglobin shows a six-coordinated heme binding, with the heme iron coordinated by two histidine side chains. Cytoglobin is involved in cytoprotection pathways through yet undefined mechanisms, and it has recently been demonstrated that cytoglobin has redox signaling properties via nitric oxide (NO) and nitrite metabolism. The reduced, ferrous cytoglobin can bind oxygen and will react with NO in a dioxygenation reaction to form nitrate, which dampens NO signaling. When deoxygenated, cytoglobin can bind nitrite and reduce it to NO. This oxidoreductase activity could be catalytic if an effective reduction system exists to regenerate the reduced heme species. The nature of the physiological cytoglobin reducing system is unknown, although it has been proposed that ascorbate and cytochrome b5 could fulfill this role. Here we describe that physiological concentrations of cytochrome b5 and cytochrome b5 reductase can reduce human and fish cytoglobins at rates up to 250-fold higher than those reported for their known physiological substrates, hemoglobin and myoglobin, and up to 100-fold faster than 5 mM ascorbate. These data suggest that the cytochrome b5/cytochrome b5 reductase system is a viable reductant for cytoglobin in vivo, allowing for catalytic oxidoreductase activity.

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