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Biophys J. 1986 Oct;50(4):613-20.

Resonance Raman spectral isolation of the a and a3 chromophores in cytochrome oxidase.


Resonance Raman spectra of reduced CO-bound cytochrome oxidase obtained at two different excitation frequencies (441.6 and 413.1 nm) are compared with the spectra of the fully reduced enzyme. In the spectra of the CO-bound complex only the cytochrome a modes are strongly enhanced with 441.6 nm excitation and only the modes of the CO-bound cytochrome a3 heme are strongly enhanced with 413.1-nm excitation. In the fully reduced complex with both excitation frequencies, modes of both cytochrome a and a3 are enhanced. By subtraction we are able to uncover the complete spectrum of the fully reduced ligand-free cytochrome a3 heme. Thus, we report the discrete resonance Raman spectra of cytochromes a2+, a2+3, and a2+3 (CO). The spectra of fully reduced cytochrome a and ligand-free cytochrome a3 are very different especially in the low frequency region. Binding CO to ferrous cytochrome a3 results in electronic structure changes in the heme analogous to those in hemoglobin and myoglobin, from which we conclude that there is nothing electronically unique in the ferrous cytochrome a3 heme to account for its catalytic properties.

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