YhjA - An Escherichia coli trihemic enzyme with quinol peroxidase activity

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The trihemic bacterial cytochrome c peroxidase from Escherichia coli, YhjA, is a membrane-anchored protein with a C-terminal domain homologous to the classical bacterial peroxidases and an additional N-terminal (NT) heme binding domain. Recombinant YhjA is a 50 kDa monomer in solution with three c-type hemes covalently bound. Here is reported the first biochemical and spectroscopic characterization of YhjA and of the NT domain demonstrating that NT heme is His63/Met125 coordinated. The reduction potentials of P (active site), NT and E hemes were established to be −170 mV, +133 mV and +210 mV, respectively, at pH 7.5. YhjA has quinol peroxidase activity in vitro with optimum activity at pH 7.0 and millimolar range KM values using hydroquinone and menadiol (a menaquinol analogue) as electron donors (KM = 0.6 ± 0.2 and 1.8 ± 0.5 mM H2O2, respectively), with similar turnover numbers (kcat = 19 ± 2 and 13 ± 2 s−1, respectively). YhjA does not require reductive activation for maximum activity, in opposition to classical bacterial peroxidases, as P heme is always high-spin 6-coordinated with a water-derived molecule as distal axial ligand but shares the need for the presence of calcium ions in the kinetic assays. Formation of a ferryl Fe(IV) = O species was observed upon incubation of fully oxidized YhjA with H2O2. The data reported improve our understanding of the biochemical properties and catalytic mechanism of YhjA, a three-heme peroxidase that uses the quinol pool to defend the cells against hydrogen peroxide during transient exposure to oxygenated environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-422
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Escherichia coli
  • Heme enzyme
  • Oxidative stress
  • Quinol peroxidase activity
  • Trihemic bacterial peroxidase


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