Definition of the catalytic site of cytochrome c oxidase: Specific ligands of heme a and the heme a3-Cu(B) center

J. P. Shapleigh, J. P. Hosler, M. M.J. Tecklenburg, Y. Kim, G. T. Babcock, R. B. Gennis, S. Ferguson-Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The three-subunit aa3-type cytochrome c oxidase (EC of Rhodobacter sphaeroides is structurally and functionally homologous to the more complex mitochondrial oxidase. The largest subunit, subunit I, is highly conserved and predicted to contain 12 transmembrane segments that provide all the ligands for three of the four metal centers: heme a, heme a3, and Cu(B). A variety of spectroscopic techniques identify these ligands as histidines. We have used site-directed mutagenesis to change all the conserved histidines within subunit I of cytochrome c oxidase from Rb. sphaeroides. Analysis of the membrane-bound and purified mutant proteins by optical absorption and resonance Raman spectroscopy indicates that His-102 and His-421 are the ligands of heme a, while His-284, His-333, His-334, and His-419 ligate the heme a3-Cu(B) center. To satisfy this ligation assignment, helices II, VI, VII, and X, which contain these histidine residues, must be in close proximity. These data provide empirical evidence regarding the three- dimensional protein structure at the catalytic core of cytochrome c oxidase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4786-4790
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Definition of the catalytic site of cytochrome c oxidase: Specific ligands of heme a and the heme a<sub>3</sub>-Cu(B) center'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this