Structural studies of yeast iso-1-cytochrome c (L.J. McClelland, T.-C. Mou, M.E. Jeakins-Cooley, S.R. Sprang, B.E. Bowler, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111 (2014) 6648–6653) show that modest movement of Ω-loop D (residues 70–85, average RMSD versus the native structure: 0.81 Å) permits loss of Met80-heme ligation creating an available coordination site to catalyze the peroxidase activity mediated by cytochrome c early in apoptosis. However, Ala81 and Gly83 move significantly (RMSDs of 2.18 and 1.26 Å respectively). Ala81 and Gly83 evolve to Ile and Val, respectively, in human cytochrome c and peroxidase activity decreases 25-fold relative to the yeast protein at pH 7. To test the hypothesis that these residues evolved to restrict the peroxidase activity of cytochrome c, A81I and G83V variants of yeast iso-1-cytochrome c were prepared. For both variants, the apparent pK a of the alkaline transition increases by 0.2 to 0.3 relative to the wild type (WT) protein and the rate of opening the heme crevice is slowed. The cooperativity of acid unfolding is decreased for the G83V variant. At pH 7 and 8, the catalytic rate constant, k cat , for the peroxidase activity of both variants decreases relative to WT, consistent with the effects on alkaline isomerization. Below pH 7, the loss in the cooperativity of acid unfolding causes k cat for peroxidase activity to increase for the G83V variant relative to WT. Neither variant decreases k cat to the level of the human protein, indicating that other residues also contribute to the low peroxidase activity of human cytochrome c.
- Acid unfolding
- Alkaline conformational transition
- Cytochrome c
- Peroxidase activity