Trp191Phe and Trp51Phe mutations have been introduced into an engineered cytochrome c peroxidase (CcP) containing a Mn(II)- binding site reported previously (MnCcP; see Yeung, B. K.-S., et al. (1997) Chem. Biol. 5, 215-221). The goal of the present study is to elucidate the role of tryptophans in peroxidase activity since CcP contains both Trp51 and Trp191 while manganese peroxidase (MnP) contains phenylalanine residues at the corresponding positions. The presence of Trp191 in CcP allows formation of a unique high-valent intermediate containing a ferryl oxo and tryptophan radical called compound I'. The absence of a tryptophan residue at this position in MnP is the main reason for the formation of an intermediate called compound I which contains a ferryl oxo and porphyrin π-cation radical. In this study, we showed that introduction of the Trp191Phe mutation to MnCcP did not improve MnP activity (specific activity: MnCcP, 0.750 μmol min-1 mg-1; MnCcP(W191F), 0.560 μmol min-1 mg-1·k(cat)/K(m): MnCcP, 0.0517 s-1 mM-1; MnCcP(W191F), 0.0568 s-1 mM-1) despite the fact that introduction of the same mutation to WTCcP caused the formation of a transient compound I (decay rate, 60 s-1). However, introducing both the Trp191Phe and Trp51Phe mutations not only resulted in a longer lived compound I in WTCcP (decay rate, 18 s-1), but also significantly improved MnP activity in MnCcP (MnCcP(W51F, W191F): specific activity, 8.0 μmol min-1 mg-1; k(cat)/K(m), 0.599 s-1 mM-1). The increase in activity can be attributed to the Trp51Phe mutation since MnCcP(W51F) showed significantly increased MnP activity relative to MnCcP (specific activity, 3.2 μmol min-1 mg-1; k(cat)/K(m), 0.325 s-1 mM-1). As with MnP, the activity of MnCcP(W51F, W191F) was found to increase with decreasing pH. Our results demonstrate that, while the Trp191Phe and Trp51Phe mutations both play important roles in stabilizing compound I, only the Trp51Phe mutation contributes significantly to increasing the MnP activity because this mutation increases the reactivity of compound II, whose oxidation of Mn(II) is the rate-determining step in the reaction mechanism.
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