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J Biochem. 1981 Jul;90(1):125-31.

Degradation of mesoheme and hydroxymesoheme catalyzed by the heme oxygenase system: involvement of hydroxyheme in the sequence of heme catabolism.


Mesoheme bound to heme oxygenase protein was easily degraded to mesobiliverdin by incubation with NADPH-cytochrome c reductase and NADPH. The features of mesoheme degradation were very similar to those of protoheme degradation catalyzed by the heme oxygenase system; an intermediate compound having its absorption maximum at 660 nm appeared in the couse of mesoheme degradation and this compound is presumably equivalent to the 688 nm compound which appears in the course of protoheme degradation. Hydroxymesoheme was chemically prepared and a complex of hydroxymesoheme and heme oxygenase was prepared. The complex was fairly stable in air, but when the complex was incubated with the NADPH-cytochrome c reductase system, the hydroxymesoheme bound to heme oxygenase was readily converted to mesobiliverdin through the 660 nm compound as an intermediate. It is evident that hydroxyheme is a real intermediate of heme degradation in the heme oxygenase reaction and that the 688 nm compound (or the 660 nm compound in the mesoheme system) is located between hydroxyheme and the biliverdin-iron chelate. The ferrous state of heme-iron may also be necessary for the onset of further oxidation of hydroxyheme.

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