Grimaldi S, Arias-Cartin R, Lanciano P, Lyubenova S, Szenes R, Endeward B, Prisner TF, Guigliarelli B, Magalon A.
Escherichia coli nitrate reductase A (NarGHI) is a membrane-bound enzyme that couples quinol oxidation at a periplasmically oriented Q-site (QD) to proton release into the periplasm during anaerobic respiration. To elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying such a coupling, endogenous menasemiquinone-8 intermediates stabilized at the QD site (MSQD) of NarGHI have been studied by high-resolution pulsed EPR methods in combination with 1H2O/2H2O exchange experiments. One of the two non-exchangeable proton hyperfine couplings resolved in hyperfine sublevel correlation (HYSCORE) spectra of the radical displays characteristics typical from quinone methyl protons. However, its unusually small isotropic value reflects a singularly low spin density on the quinone carbon α carrying the methyl group, which is ascribed to a strong asymmetry of the MSQD binding mode and consistent with single-sided hydrogen bonding to the quinone oxygen O1. Furthermore, a single exchangeable proton hyperfine coupling is resolved, both by comparing the HYSCORE spectra of the radical in 1H2O and 2H2O samples and by selective detection of the exchanged deuterons using Q-band 2H Mims electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectroscopy. Spectral analysis reveals its peculiar characteristics, i.e. a large anisotropic hyperfine coupling together with an almost zero isotropic contribution. It is assigned to a proton involved in a short ∼1.6 Å in-plane hydrogen bond between the quinone O1 oxygen and the Nδ of the His-66 residue, an axial ligand of the distal heme bD. Structural and mechanistic implications of these results for the electron-coupled proton translocation mechanism at the QD site are discussed, in light of the unusually high thermodynamic stability of MSQD.
Arias-Cartin R, Lyubenova S, Ceccalci P, Prisner T, Magalon A, Giugliarelli B, Grimaldi S
Through the use of an Escherichia coli strain deficient in menaquinone biosynthesis, purified nitrate reductase A (NarGHI)-enriched inner membrane vesicles were titrated and monitored by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, revealing the formation of protein-bound ubisemiquinone (USQ) species. Two-dimensional ESEEM (HYSCORE) experiments on these radicals revealed the same magnetic interaction with an 14N nucleus as found for menasemiquinone stabilized at the QD site of E. coli NarGHI and assigned to His66 Nδ, a distal heme axial ligand. Moreover, this signature was lost in the NarGHIH66Y mutant, which is known to be unable to react with quinols. These findings demonstrate that NarGHI-bound USQ can be formed and detected by EPR. They also provide the first direct experimental evidence for similar binding of natural menasemiquinones and ubisemiquinones within the same protein Q site of NarGHI.
Lanciano P, Magalon A, Bertrand P, Guigliarelli B, Grimaldi S
Quinol/nitrate oxidoreductase (NarGHI) is the first enzyme involved in respiratory denitrification in prokaryotes. Although this complex in E. coli is known to operate with both ubi and menaquinones, the location and the number of quinol binding sites remain elusive. NarGHI strongly stabilizes a semiquinone radical located within the dihemic anchor subunit NarI. To identify its location and function, we used a combination of mutagenesis, kinetics, EPR, and ENDOR spectroscopies. For the NarGHIH66Y and NarGHIH187Y mutants lacking the distal heme bD, no EPR signal of the semiquinone was observed. In contrast, a semiquinone was detected in the NarGHIH56Y mutant lacking the proximal heme bP. Its thermodynamic properties and spectroscopic characteristics, as revealed by Q-band EPR and ENDOR spectroscopies, are identical to those observed in the native enzyme. The substitution by Ala of the Lys86 residue close to heme bD, which was previously proposed to be in a quinol oxidation site of NarGHI (QD), also leads to the loss of the EPR signal of the semiquinone, although both hemes are present. Enzymatic assays carried out on the NarGHIK86A mutant reveal that the substitution dramatically reduces the rate of oxidation of both mena and ubiquinol analogues. These observations demonstrate that the semiquinone observed in NarI is strongly associated with heme bD and that Lys86 is required for its stabilization. Overall, our results indicate that the semiquinone is located within the quinol oxidation site QD. Details of the possible binding motif of the semiquinone and mechanistic implications are discussed.