Biophysical characterization of electron transfer proteins containing multiple metallocofactors: investigation of the AdoMet radical and cytochrome c peroxidase enzyme superfamilies
Maiocco, Stephanie Jane
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Metallocofactors are ubiquitous in nature, serving multiple purposes in proteins. These metallocofactors typically act as the site of catalysis or as an electron relay to move electrons within the protein, or within the cell, and are very energetically costly to manufacture. Yet, in nature it can appear that supernumerary, or ‘auxiliary’ cofactors are apparent, with no clear function. In this thesis, I address the question of what roles additional cofactors play, and why they are retained. The radical S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) enzyme superfamily has displayed great diversity in the cofactor requirements for its members. Some members of this family contain only the canonical [4Fe-4S] cluster, which reductively cleaves AdoMet to initiate chemistry, while others have additional [2Fe-2S] or [4Fe-4S] clusters. Even greater cofactor complexity is seen with the B12-dependent subclass, featuring a cobalamin-binding domain in addition to the canonical FeS cluster. The majority of this thesis has focused on using the technique of protein film electrochemistry (PFE) to study members of various subclasses of this superfamily: a dehydrogenase: BtrN, two methylthiotransferases: MiaB and RimO, as well as OxsB and TsrM, two B12-dependent enzymes. By evaluating the redox properties of members of different subclasses, we have been able to shed light on the redox properties of this superfamily, in general, and observed that the redox properties of auxiliary clusters can differ widely between subclasses (e.g. BtrN versus MiaB). PFE has also been used to evaluate five ferredoxins that are possible electron donors for MiaB from Thermotoga maritima. Additionally, bacterial cytochrome c peroxidases (bCCPs) are diheme enzymes catalyzing the detoxification of hydrogen peroxide; however, a novel subclass of bCCPs containing a third heme-binding motif has been identified in enteric pathogens. Protein film electrochemistry has been used to study the redox properties of Escherichia coli YhjA, a member of this subgroup. Further characterization of this novel bCCP was achieved with electron paramagnetic resonance, optical spectroscopy, and steady-state kinetics. Through characterizing YhjA and members of the AdoMet radical enzyme superfamily, we have shed light on the role these additional cofactors play in the mechanism and how these enzymes are tuned for their specific chemistries.