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Microbiology. 1996 Nov;142 ( Pt 11):3231-9.

Kinetic analysis and substrate specificity of Escherichia coli dimethyl sulfoxide reductase.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta Edmonton, Canada.


We have characterized the substrate specificity of dimethyl sulfoxide reductase (DmsABC) of Escherichia coli by determining Km and Kcat values for 22 different substrates. The enzyme has a very broad substrate specificity. The Km values varied 470-fold, while Kcat values varied only 20-fold, implicating Km as the major determinant of Kcat/Km values. Sulfoxides and pyridine N-oxide exhibited the lowest Km values, followed by aliphatic N-oxides. The Kcat values for these compounds also followed the same pattern. Substitution at the 2 or 3 position of the pyridine N-oxide ring had little effect on Km while substitution at the 4 position had a greater effect, and increased Km. Negatively charged substrates were poorly accepted. A few compounds that are not S- or N-oxides were also reduced by the enzyme. Most compounds reduced by DmsABC were not toxic to E. coli under anaerobic growth conditions, and E. coli was able to use many of these compounds anaerobically as terminal electron acceptors in the presence of glycerol. Anaerobic growth on sulfoxides is solely due to DmsABC expression. However, there appears to be another as yet unidentified terminal reductase capable of using pyridine N-oxides as terminal electron acceptors.

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