High-Resolution EPR Spectroscopy of Mo Enzymes. Sulfite Oxidases: Structural and Functional Implications

  • John H. Enemark
  • A. V. Astashkin
  • A. M. Raitsimring
Part of the Biological Magnetic Resonance book series (BIMR, volume 29)


Sulfite oxidases (SOs) are physiologically vital Mo-containing enzymes that occur in animals, plants, and bacteria and which catalyze the oxidation of sulfite to sulfate, the terminal reaction in the oxidative degradation of sulfur-containing compounds. X-ray structure determinations of SOs from several species show nearly identical coordination structures of the molybdenum active center, and a common catalytic mechanism has been proposed that involves the generation of a transient paramagnetic Mo(V) state through a series of coupled electron–proton transfer steps. This chapter describes the use of pulsed electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) and electron spin echo envelope modulation (ESEEM) spectroscopic techniques to obtain information about the structure of this Mo(V) species from the hyperfine interactions (hfi) and nuclear quadrupole interactions (nqi) of nearby magnetic nuclei. Variable frequency instrumentation is essential to optimize the experimental conditions for measuring the couplings of different types of nuclei (e.g., 1H, 2H, 31P, and 17O). The theoretical background necessary for understanding the ESEEM and ENDOR spectra of the Mo(V) centers of SOs is outlined, and examples of the use of advanced pulsed EPR methods (RP-ESEEM, HYSCORE, integrated four-pulse ESEEM) for structure determination are presented. The analysis of variable-frequency pulsed EPR data from SOs is aided by parallel studies of model compounds that contain key functional groups or that are isotopically labeled and thus provide benchmark data for enzymes. Enormous progress has been made on the use of high-resolution variable-frequency pulsed EPR methods to investigate the structures and mechanisms of SOs during the past ~15 years, and the future is bright for the continued development and application of this technology to SOs, other molybdenum enzymes, and other problems in metallobiochemistry.


Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectrum ENDOR Spectrum Electron Spin Echo Envelope Modulation Sulfite Oxidase 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Enemark
    • 1
  • A. V. Astashkin
    • 1
  • A. M. Raitsimring
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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