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Elucidating the catalytic mechanism of sulfite oxidizing enzymes using structural, spectroscopic, and kinetic analyses.

Biochemistry 2010 August 32
Sulfite oxidizing enzymes (SOEs) are molybdenum cofactor-dependent enzymes that are found in plants, animals, and bacteria. Sulfite oxidase (SO) is found in animals and plants, while sulfite dehydrogenase (SDH) is found in bacteria. In animals, SO catalyzes the oxidation of toxic sulfite to sulfate as the final step in the catabolism of the sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine. In humans, sulfite oxidase deficiency is an inherited recessive disorder that produces severe neonatal neurological problems that lead to early death. Plant SO (PSO) also plays an important role in sulfite detoxification and in addition serves as an intermediate enzyme in the assimilatory reduction of sulfate. In vertebrates, the proposed catalytic mechanism of SO involves two intramolecular one-electron transfer (IET) steps from the molybdenum cofactor to the iron of the integral b-type heme. A similar mechanism is proposed for SDH, involving its molybdenum cofactor and c-type heme. However, PSO, which lacks an integral heme cofactor, uses molecular oxygen as its electron acceptor. Here we review recent results for SOEs from kinetic measurements, computational studies, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, electrochemical measurements, and site-directed mutagenesis on active site residues of SOEs and of the flexible polypepetide tether that connects the heme and molybdenum domains of human SO. Rapid kinetic studies of PSO are also discussed.

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