Human quiescin-sulfhydryl oxidase, QSOX1: probing internal redox steps by mutagenesis

Biochemistry. 2008 Apr 29;47(17):4955-63. doi: 10.1021/bi702522q. Epub 2008 Apr 5.


The flavoprotein quiescin-sulfhydryl oxidase (QSOX) rapidly inserts disulfide bonds into unfolded, reduced proteins with the concomitant reduction of oxygen to hydrogen peroxide. This study reports the first heterologous expression and enzymological characterization of a human QSOX1 isoform. Like QSOX isolated from avian egg white, recombinant HsQSOX1 is highly active toward reduced ribonuclease A (RNase) and dithiothreitol but shows a >100-fold lower k cat/ K m for reduced glutathione. Previous studies on avian QSOX led to a model in which reducing equivalents were proposed to relay through the enzyme from the first thioredoxin domain (C70-C73) to a distal disulfide (C509-C512), then across the dimer interface to the FAD-proximal disulfide (C449-C452), and finally to the FAD. The present work shows that, unlike the native avian enzyme, HsQSOX1 is monomeric. The recombinant expression system enabled construction of the first cysteine mutants for mechanistic dissection of this enzyme family. Activity assays with mutant HsQSOX1 indicated that the conserved distal C509-C512 disulfide is dispensable for the oxidation of reduced RNase or dithiothreitol. The four other cysteine residues chosen for mutagenesis, C70, C73, C449, and C452, are all crucial for efficient oxidation of reduced RNase. C452, of the proximal disulfide, is shown to be the charge-transfer donor to the flavin ring of QSOX, and its partner, C449, is expected to be the interchange thiol, forming a mixed disulfide with C70 in the thioredoxin domain. These data demonstrate that all the internal redox steps occur within the same polypeptide chain of mammalian QSOX and commence with a direct interaction between the reduced thioredoxin domain and the proximal disulfide of the Erv/ALR domain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • Cattle
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Disulfides / metabolism
  • Egg Proteins / chemistry
  • Egg Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Milk Proteins / chemistry
  • Milk Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on Sulfur Group Donors
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Thioredoxins / chemistry
  • Thioredoxins / genetics*
  • Thioredoxins / metabolism*


  • Disulfides
  • Egg Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Thioredoxins
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on Sulfur Group Donors
  • QSOX1 protein, human
  • Cysteine