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Microbiology. 1994 May;140 ( Pt 5):1027-34.

The high-spin cytochrome o' component of the cytochrome bo-type quinol oxidase in membranes from Escherichia coli: formation of the primary oxygenated species at low temperatures is characterized by a slow 'on' rate and low dissociation constant.

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Division of Life Sciences, King's College London, UK.


Cytochromes b and o in membrane vesicles from aerobically grown Escherichia coli were readily reduced by succinate; one cytochrome, which we propose should be called cytochrome o', reacted with CO in the Fe(II) state to give a photodissociable CO adduct. The photodissociation spectrum (photolysed minus pre-photolysis) at sub-zero temperatures had a relatively high gamma/alpha absorbance ratio, indicating a high-spin haem, which, in the reduced state, probably contributes little to the sharp alpha absorbance of the oxidase complex in membranes. Reaction with oxygen of the unliganded high-spin haem between -132 degrees C and -95 degrees C following photolytic activation gave a product that is identified as the oxygenated form, being spectrally similar to, but not identical with, the CO adduct. In membranes, the forward velocity constant at -95 degrees C was 61 M-1s-1, and the dissociation constant was 1.6 x 10(-5) M O2, as it is in intact cells. These data clearly distinguish the oxygen-trapping strategy of the cytochrome o' in this oxidase from that of cytochrome a3 and also suggest that the presence of the soluble flavohaemoglobin (Hmp) in intact cells is without effect on such measurements of the primary oxygen reaction. In view of recent findings that this oxidase complex contains predominantly one mole of haem O and one of haem B, a revised nomenclature for the oxidase complex is proposed, namely, cytochrome bo'.

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