Midpoint potentials of hemes a and a3 in the quinol oxidase from Acidianus ambivalens are inverted

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The aa3 type B oxygen reductase from the thermophilic archaeon Acidianus ambivalens (QO) was immobilized on silver electrodes and studied by potential-dependent surface-enhanced resonance Raman (SERR) spectroscopy. The immobilized enzyme retains the native structure at the level of the heme pockets and exhibits reversible electrochemistry. From the potential dependence of specific spectral marker bands, the midpoint potentials of hemes a and a3 were unambiguously determined for the first time, being 320 ± 20 mV for the former and 390 ± 20 mV for the latter. Both hemes could be treated as independent one-electron Nernstian redox couples, indicating that the interaction potential is smaller than 50 mV. The reversed order of the midpoint potentials compared to those of type A (mitochondrial-like) oxidases, as well as the lack of substantial Coulombic interactions, suggests a different mechanism of electroprotonic energy transduction. In contrast to type A enzymes, a-a 3 intraprotein electron transfer in QO is already guaranteed by the order of the midpoint potentials at the onset of enzyme reduction and, therefore, does not require a complex network of cooperativities to ensure exergonicity. In the immobilized state, conformational transitions of the QO a3-CuB active site, which are believed to be essential for proton translocation, are drastically slowed compared to those in solution. We ascribe this finding to the effect of the interfacial electric field, which is of the same order of magnitude as in biological membranes. These results suggest that the membrane potential may play an active role in the regulation of the enzymatic activity of QO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13561-13566
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2005


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