, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp 1117-1127
Date: 26 May 2010

Spectroscopic insights into axial ligation and active-site H-bonding in substrate-bound human heme oxygenase-2

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Abstract

Heme oxygenases (HOs) are monooxygenases that catalyze the first step in heme degradation, converting heme to biliverdin with concomitant release of Fe(II) and CO from the porphyrin macrocycle. Two heme oxygenase isoforms, HO-1 and HO-2, exist that differ in several ways, including a complete lack of Cys residues in HO-1 and the presence of three Cys residues as part of heme-regulatory motifs (HRMs) in HO-2. HRMs in other heme proteins are thought to directly bind heme, or to otherwise regulate protein stability or activity; however, it is not currently known how the HRMs exert these effects on HO-2 function. To better understand the properties of this vital enzyme and to elucidate possible roles of its HRMs, various forms of HO-2 possessing distinct alterations to the HRMs were prepared. In this study, variants with Cys265 in a thiol form are compared with those with this residue in an oxidized (part of a disulfide bond or existing as a sulfenate moiety) form. Absorption and magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopic data of these HO-2 variants clearly demonstrate that a new low-spin Fe(III) heme species characteristic of thiolate ligation is formed when Cys265 is reduced. Additionally, absorption, magnetic circular dichroism, and resonance Raman data collected at different temperatures reveal an intriguing temperature dependence of the iron spin state in the heme–HO-2 complex. These findings are consistent with the presence of a hydrogen-bonding network at the heme’s distal side within the active site of HO-2 with potentially significant differences from that observed in HO-1.