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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1998 Sep 15;166(2):369-75.

The CcmE protein from Escherichia coli is a haem-binding protein.

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School of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, UK.


We previously reported that a 17.5-kDa haem-binding polypeptide accumulates in Escherichia coli K-12 mutants defective in an essential gene for cytochrome c assembly, ccmF, and speculated that this polypeptide is either CcmE or CcmG. The haem-containing polypeptide, which is associated with the cytoplasmic membrane, has now been identified by N-terminal sequencing to be CcmE. The haem-dependent peroxidase activity of CcmE is clearly visible not only in a ccmF mutant, but also in ccmG and ccmH mutants, implying that CcmE functions either before or in the same step as CcmF, CcmG and CcmH in cytochrome c maturation. A trxA mutant, like the dipZ mutant, was unable to assemble c-type cytochromes or catalyse formate-dependent nitrite reduction: both activities were restored in the trxA and dipZ, but not ccmG, mutants by the reducing agent, 2-mercaptoethanesulphonic acid. Our data suggest that haem transferred across the cytoplasmic membrane by the CcmABCD complex becomes associated with CcmE, possibly by a labile covalent bond, before it is transferred to the cytochrome c apoproteins by the periplasmic haem lyase encoded by ccmF and ccmH. We further propose that CcmG is essential to reduce the disulphide bonds formed in cytochrome c apoproteins by DsbA, before haem is attached by the haem lyase. Electrons for disulphide bond reduction are supplied from thioredoxin in the cytoplasm via DipZ in the membrane, but can be replaced by the chemical reductant, 2-mercaptoethanesulphonic acid. According to this model, CcmG is the last protein in the reducing pathway which interacts stereospecifically with the apoprotein.

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