Circular Dichroism and Magnetic Circular Dichroism Studies of the Biferrous Site of the Class Ib Ribonucleotide Reductase From Bacillus Cereus: Comparison to the Class Ia Enzymes

Biochemistry. 2008 Oct 28;47(43):11300-9. doi: 10.1021/bi801212f. Epub 2008 Oct 2.


The rate limiting step in DNA biosynthesis is the reduction of ribonucleotides to form the corresponding deoxyribonucleotides. This reaction is catalyzed by ribonucleotide reductases (RNRs) and is an attractive target against rapidly proliferating pathogens. Class I RNRs are binuclear non-heme iron enzymes and can be further divided into subclasses. Class Ia is found in many organisms, including humans, while class Ib has only been found in bacteria, notably some pathogens. Both Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus cereus encode class Ib RNRs with over 98% sequence identity. The geometric and electronic structure of the B. cereus diiron containing subunit (R2F) has been characterized by a combination of circular dichroism, magnetic circular dichroism (MCD) and variable temperature variable field MCD and is compared to class Ia RNRs. While crystallography has given several possible descriptions for the class Ib RNR biferrous site, the spectroscopically defined active site contains a 4-coordinate and a 5-coordinate Fe(II), weakly antiferromagnetically coupled via mu-1,3-carboxylate bridges. Class Ia biferrous sites are also antiferromagnetically coupled 4-coordinate and 5-coordinate Fe(II), however quantitatively differ from class Ib in bridging carboxylate conformation and tyrosine radical positioning relative to the diiron site. Additionally, the iron binding affinity in B. cereus RNR R2F is greater than class Ia RNR and provides the pathogen with a competitive advantage relative to host in physiological, iron-limited environments. These structural differences have potential for the development of selective drugs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus cereus / chemistry
  • Bacillus cereus / enzymology*
  • Bacillus cereus / genetics
  • Binding Sites
  • Circular Dichroism*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Models, Chemical
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases / chemistry*
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases / classification*
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases / genetics
  • Ribonucleotide Reductases / metabolism


  • Ribonucleotide Reductases