Exploring the electron transfer properties of neuronal nitric-oxide synthase by reversal of the FMN redox potential

Huiying Li, Aditi Das, Hiruy Sibhatu, Joumana Jamal, Stephen G. Sligar, Thomas L. Poulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In nitric-oxide synthase (NOS) the FMN can exist as the fully oxidized (ox), the one-electron reduced semiquinone (sq), or the two-electron fully reduced hydroquinone (hq). InNOSand microsomal cytochrome P450 reductase the sq/hq redox potential is lower than that of the ox/sq couple, and hence it is the hq form of FMN that delivers electrons to the heme. Like NOS, cytochrome P450BM3 has the FAD/FMN reductase fused to the C-terminal end of the heme domain, but in P450BM3 the ox/sq and sq/hq redox couples are reversed, so it is the sq that transfers electrons to theheme. ThisdifferenceisduetoanextraGlyresiduefoundinthe FMN binding loop in NOS compared with P450BM3. We have deleted residue Gly-810 from the FMN binding loop in neuronal NOS (nNOS) to give ΔG810 so that the shorter binding loop mimics that in cytochrome P450BM3. As expected, the ox/sq redox potential now is lower than the sq/hq couple. ΔG810 exhibits lower NO synthase activity but normal levels of cytochrome c reductase activity. However, unlike the wild-type enzyme, the cytochrome c reductase activity of ΔG810 is insensitive to calmodulin binding. In addition, calmodulin binding to ΔG810 does not result in a large increase in FMN fluorescence as in wild-type nNOS. These results indicate that the FMN domain in ΔG810 is locked in a unique conformation that is no longer sensitive to calmodulin binding and resembles the "on" output state of the calmodulin-bound wild-type nNOS with respect to the cytochrome c reduction activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34762-34772
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 12 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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