Characterization of mutants that change the hydrogen bonding of the semiquinone radical at the QH site of the cytochrome bo3 from Escherichia coli

J Biol Chem. 2007 Mar 23;282(12):8777-85. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M611595200. Epub 2007 Jan 30.


The cytochrome bo3 ubiquinol oxidase catalyzes the two-electron oxidation of ubiquinol in the cytoplasmic membrane of Escherichia coli, and reduces O2 to water. This enzyme has a high affinity quinone binding site (QH), and the quinone bound to this site acts as a cofactor, necessary for rapid electron transfer from substrate ubiquinol, which binds at a separate site (QL), to heme b. Previous pulsed EPR studies have shown that a semiquinone at the QH site formed during the catalytic cycle is a neutral species, with two strong hydrogen bonds to Asp-75 and either Arg-71 or Gln-101. In the current work, pulsed EPR studies have been extended to two mutants at the QH site. The D75E mutation has little influence on the catalytic activity, and the pattern of hydrogen bonding is similar to the wild type. In contrast, the D75H mutant is virtually inactive. Pulsed EPR revealed significant structural changes in this mutant. The hydrogen bond to Arg-71 or Gln-101 that is present in both the wild type and D75E mutant oxidases is missing in the D75H mutant. Instead, the D75H has a single, strong hydrogen bond to a histidine, likely His-75. The D75H mutant stabilizes an anionic form of the semiquinone as a result of the altered hydrogen bond network. Either the redistribution of charge density in the semiquinone species, or the altered hydrogen bonding network is responsible for the loss of catalytic function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arginine / chemistry
  • Aspartic Acid / chemistry
  • Benzoquinones / chemistry*
  • Catalysis
  • Cytochrome b Group
  • Cytochromes / chemistry*
  • Cytochromes / genetics*
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Glutamine / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Chemical
  • Mutation*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protons
  • Quinones / chemistry


  • Benzoquinones
  • Cytochrome b Group
  • Cytochromes
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Protons
  • Quinones
  • cytochrome bo3, E coli
  • Glutamine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • semiquinone radicals
  • Arginine