Probing domain interactions in soluble guanylate cyclase

Biochemistry. 2011 May 24;50(20):4281-90. doi: 10.1021/bi200341b. Epub 2011 May 3.


Eukaryotic nitric oxide (NO) signaling involves modulation of cyclic GMP (cGMP) levels through activation of the soluble isoform of guanylate cyclase (sGC). sGC is a heterodimeric hemoprotein that contains a Heme-Nitric oxide and OXygen binding (H-NOX) domain, a Per/ARNT/Sim (PAS) domain, a coiled-coil (CC) domain, and a catalytic domain. To evaluate the role of these domains in regulating the ligand binding properties of the heme cofactor of NO-sensitive sGC, we constructed chimeras by swapping the rat β1 H-NOX domain with the homologous region of H-NOX domain-containing proteins from Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis, Vibrio cholerae, and Caenorhabditis elegans (TtTar4H, VCA0720, and Gcy-33, respectively). Characterization of ligand binding by electronic absorption and resonance Raman spectroscopy indicates that the other rat sGC domains influence the bacterial and worm H-NOX domains. Analysis of cGMP production in these proteins reveals that the chimeras containing bacterial H-NOX domains exhibit guanylate cyclase activity, but this activity is not influenced by gaseous ligand binding to the heme cofactor. The rat-worm chimera containing the atypical sGC Gcy-33 H-NOX domain was weakly activated by NO, CO, and O(2), suggesting that atypical guanylate cyclases and NO-sensitive guanylate cyclases have a common molecular mechanism for enzyme activation. To probe the influence of the other sGC domains on the mammalian sGC heme environment, we generated heme pocket mutants (Pro118Ala and Ile145Tyr) in the β1 H-NOX construct (residues 1-194), the β1 H-NOX-PAS-CC construct (residues 1-385), and the full-length α1β1 sGC heterodimer (β1 residues 1-619). Spectroscopic characterization of these proteins shows that interdomain communication modulates the coordination state of the heme-NO complex and the heme oxidation rate. Taken together, these findings have important implications for the allosteric mechanism of regulation within H-NOX domain-containing proteins.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / enzymology
  • Catalytic Domain*
  • Guanylate Cyclase / chemistry*
  • Guanylate Cyclase / genetics
  • Guanylate Cyclase / metabolism*
  • Heme / chemistry
  • Heme / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase
  • Thermoanaerobacter / enzymology
  • Vibrio cholerae / enzymology


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Heme
  • Guanylate Cyclase
  • Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase
  • Oxygen