Document Type


Publication Date



Heme oxygenase (HO) cleaves hemin into biliverdin, iron, and CO. For mammalian HOs, both native hemin propionates are required for substrate binding and activity. The HO from the pathogenic bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (NmHO) possesses a crystallographically undetected C-terminal fragment that by solution 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is found to fold and interact with the active site. One of the substrate propionates has been proposed to form a salt bridge to the C-terminus rather than to the conventional buried cationic side chain in other HOs. Moreover, the C-terminal dipeptide Arg208His209 cleaves spontaneously over ∼24 h at a rate dependent on substituent size. Two-dimensional 1H NMR of NmHO azide complexes with hemins with selectively deleted or rearranged propionates shows that all bind to NmHO with a structurally conserved active site as reflected in optical spectra and NMR nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy cross-peak and hyperfine shift patterns. In contrast to mammalian HOs, NmHO requires only a single propionate interacting with the buried terminus of Lys16 to exhibit full activity and tolerates the existence of a propionate at the exposed 8-position. The structure of the C-terminus is qualitatively retained upon deletion of the 7-propionate, but a dramatic change in the 7-propionate carboxylate 13C chemical shift upon C-terminal cleavage confirms its role in the interaction with the C-terminus. The stronger hydrophobic contacts between pyrroles A and B with NmHO contribute more substantially to the substrate binding free energy than in mammalian HOs, "liberating" one propionate to stabilize the C-terminus. The functional implications of the C-terminus in product release are discussed. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)


First Page


Last Page