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Biochemistry. 1997 Apr 8;36(14):4061-6.

The CXXC motif: a rheostat in the active site.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.


The active-site CXXC motif of thiol:disulfide oxidoreductases is essential for their catalysis of redox reactions. Changing the XX residues can perturb the reduction potential of the active-site disulfide bond of the Escherichia coli enzymes thioredoxin (Trx; CGPC) and DsbA (CPHC). The reduction potential is correlated with the acidity of the N-terminal cysteine residue of the CXXC motif. As the pKa is lowered, the disulfide bond becomes more easy to reduce. A change in pKa can account fully for a change in reduction potential in well-characterized CXXC motifs of DsbA but not of Trx. Formal analysis of the Nernst equation reveals that reduction potential contains both pH-dependent and pH-independent components. Indeed, the difference between the reduction potentials of wild-type Trx and wild-type DsbA cannot be explained solely by differences in thiol pKa values. Structural data for thiol:disulfide oxidoreductases reveal no single factor that determines the pH-independent component of the reduction potential. In addition, the pH-dependent component is complex when the redox state of the CXXC motif affects the titration of residues other than the thiols. These intricacies enable CXXC motifs to vary widely in their capacity to assist electron flow, and thereby engender a family of thiol:disulfide oxidoreductases that play diverse roles in biochemistry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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