, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 277–284 | Cite as

X-ray structure of bovine heart cytochrome c at high ionic strength

  • Antonello MerlinoEmail author


Bovine heart cytochrome c (bCyt c) is an extensively studied hemoprotein of only 104 residues. Due to the existence of isoforms generated by non-enzymatic deaminidation, crystallization of bCyt c is difficult and involves extensive purification and the use of microseeding or the presence of an electric field. Taking advantage of the capacity of cytochrome c (cyt c) to bind anions on its protein surface, the commercially available bCyt c was crystallized without extra purifications, using ammonium sulfate as precipitant and nitrate ions as additives. The structure of the ferric bCyt c in a new crystal form is described and compared with that previously solved at low ionic strength and with those of human and horse cyt c. The overall structure of bCyt c is conserved, while the side chains of several residues that play a role in the interactions of cyt c with its partners have different rotamers in the two structures. The effect of the presence of nitrate ions on the structure of the protein is then evaluated and compared with that observed in the case of ferrous and ferric horse heart cyt c.


Hemoprotein crystallization X-ray structure Cytochrome c Hot spots Protein–protein recognition 



The author acknowledges students for his lab for technical assistance and members of ESRF staff for their help with data collection and processing.


This study was funded by University of Naples Federico II.

Compliance with ethical standard

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical SciencesUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

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