Nuclear magnetic resonance and visible spectroscopies were used to determine the thermodynamic parameters of the four hemes in cytochrome c3 from Desulfovibrio gigas at 298 and 277 K and to investigate the mechanism of electron/proton energy transduction. Data obtained in the pH range from 5 to 9 were analyzed according to a model in which the hemes interact with each other (redox cooperativities) and with an ionizable center (redox-Bohr cooperativities). The results obtained at the two temperatures allow the deconvolution of the entropic contribution to the free energy of the four hemes, to the acid-base equilibrium of the ionizable center, and to the network of cooperativities among the five centers. The redox potentials of the hemes are modulated by the enthalpic contribution to the free energy, and evidence for the participation of the propionates of heme I in the redox- Bohr effect is presented. The network of interactions between the centers in this protein facilitates the concerted transfer of electrons and protons, in agreement with the 'proton thruster' mechanism proposed for electronic to protonic energy transduction by cytochromes c3.
- cytochrome c3