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Role of Reversible Histidine Coordination in Hydroxylamine Reduction by Plant Hemoglobins (Phytoglobins)

Athwal, Navjot Singh, Alagurajan, Jagannathan, Andreotti, Amy H., Hargrove, Mark S.
Biochemistry 2016 v.55 no.41 pp. 5809-5817
active sites, dissociation, electron transfer, erythrocytes, hemoglobin, histidine, humans, hydroxylamine, leghemoglobin, myoglobin, rice, soybeans, tomatoes
Reduction of hydroxylamine to ammonium by phytoglobin, a plant hexacoordinate hemoglobin, is much faster than that of other hexacoordinate hemoglobins or pentacoordinate hemoglobins such as myoglobin, leghemoglobin, and red blood cell hemoglobin. The reason for differences in reactivity is not known but could be intermolecular electron transfer between protein molecules in support of the required two-electron reduction, hydroxylamine binding, or active site architecture favoring the reaction. Experiments were conducted with phytoglobins from rice, tomato, and soybean along with human neuroglobin and soybean leghemoglobin that reveal hydroxylamine binding as the rate-limiting step. For hexacoordinate hemoglobins, binding is limited by the dissociation rate constant for the distal histidine, while leghemoglobin is limited by an intrinsically low affinity for hydroxylamine. When the distal histidine is removed from rice phytoglobin, a hydroxylamine-bound intermediate is formed and the reaction rate is diminished, indicating that the distal histidine imidazole side chain is critical for the reaction, albeit not for electron transfer but rather for direct interaction with the substrate. Together, these results demonstrate that phytoglobins are superior at hydroxylamine reduction because they have distal histidine coordination affinity constants near 1, and facile rate constants for binding and dissociation of the histidine side chain. Hexacoordinate hemoglobins such as neuroglobin are limited by tighter histidine coordination that blocks hydroxylamine binding, and pentacoordinate hemoglobins have intrinsically lower hydroxylamine affinities.