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A Conserved Amphipathic Ligand Binding Region Influences K‑Path-Dependent Activity of Cytochrome c Oxidase

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journal contribution
posted on 19.02.2016, 21:25 by Carrie Hiser, Leann Buhrow, Jian Liu, Leslie Kuhn, Shelagh Ferguson-Miller
A conserved, crystallographically defined bile acid binding site was originally identified in the membrane domain of mammalian and bacterial cytochrome c oxidase (CcO). Current studies show other amphipathic molecules including detergents, fatty acids, steroids, and porphyrins bind to this site and affect the already 50% inhibited activity of the E101A mutant of Rhodobacter sphaeroides CcO as well as altering the activity of wild-type and bovine enzymes. Dodecyl maltoside, Triton X100, C12E8, lysophophatidylcholine, and CHOBIMALT detergents further inhibit RsCcO E101A, with lesser inhibition observed in wild-type. The detergent inhibition is overcome in the presence of micromolar concentrations of steroids and porphyrin analogues including deoxycholate, cholesteryl hemisuccinate, bilirubin, and protoporphyrin IX. In addition to alleviating detergent inhibition, amphipathic carboxylates including arachidonic, docosahexanoic, and phytanic acids stimulate the activity of E101A to wild-type levels by providing the missing carboxyl group. Computational modeling of dodecyl maltoside, bilirubin, and protoporphyrin IX into the conserved steroid site shows energetically favorable binding modes for these ligands and suggests that a groove at the interface of subunit I and II, including the entrance to the K-path and helix VIII of subunit I, mediates the observed competitive ligand interactions involving two overlapping sites. Spectral analysis indicates that ligand binding to this region affects CcO activity by altering the K-path-dependent electron transfer equilibrium between heme a and heme a3. The high affinity and specificity of a number of compounds for this region, and its conservation and impact on CcO activity, support its physiological significance.