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Biochemistry. 1993 Oct 5;32(39):10323-30.

The dissimilatory sulfite reductase from Desulfosarcina variabilis is a desulforubidin containing uncoupled metalated sirohemes and S = 9/2 iron-sulfur clusters.

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Department of Biochemistry, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands.


The active site of Escherichia coli NADPH-sulfite reductase has previously been modeled as a siroheme with its iron bridged to a nearby iron-sulfur cubane, resulting in antiferromagnetic exchange coupling between all iron atoms. The model has been suggested to hold also for other sulfite reductases and nitrite reductases. We have recently challenged the generality of the model with the finding that the EPR of Fe/S in dissimilatory sulfite reductase (desulfoviridin) from Desulfovibrio vulgaris indicates that an S = 9/2 system is not subject to coupling. Siroheme in desulfoviridin is to a large extent demetalated, and therefore coupling is physically impossible. We have now studied examples from a second class of dissimilatory sulfite reductases, desulforubidins, which have their siroporphyrins fully metalated. Desulforubidin from Desulfosarcina variabilis is a 208-kDa alpha 2 beta 2 gamma 2 hexamer. The alpha- and beta-subunits are immunologically active with antibodies raised against the corresponding subunits from D. vulgaris desulfoviridin, whereas the gamma-subunit is not. The desulforubidin contains two fully metalated sirohemes and a total of approximately 15 Fe and approximately 19 S2-. Quantification of high-spin plus low-spin heme EPR signals accounts for all sirohydrochlorin. The frequency-independent (9-35 GHz) effective perpendicular g-values of the high-spin S = 5/2 siroheme (6.33, 5.19) point to quantum mixing with an excited (approximately 770 cm-1) S = 3/2 multiplet. Similar anomalous g-values are observed with sulfite reductases from Desulfovibrio baarsii and Desulfotomaculum acetoxidans. The D. variabilis enzyme exhibits very approximately stoichiometric S = 9/2 EPR (g = 16).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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