Searching for the low affinity ubiquinone binding site in cytochrome bo3 from Escherichia coli

Sylvia K. Choi, Myat T. Lin, Hanlin Ouyang, Robert B. Gennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cytochrome bo3 ubiquinol oxidase is one of three respiratory oxygen reductases in the aerobic respiratory chain of Escherichia coli. The generally accepted model of catalysis assumes that cyt bo3 contains two distinct ubiquinol binding sites: (i) a low affinity (QL) site which is the traditional substrate binding site; and (ii) a high affinity (QH) site where a “permanently” bound quinone acts as a cofactor, taking two electrons from the substrate quinol and passing them one-by-one to the heme b component of the enzyme which, in turn, transfers them to the heme o3/CuB active site. Whereas the residues at the QH site are well defined, the location of the QL site remains unknown. The published X-ray structure does not contain quinone, and substantial amounts of the protein are missing as well. A recent bioinformatics study by Bossis et al. [Biochem J. (2014) 461, 305–314] identified a sequence motif G163EFX3GWX2Y173 as the likely QL site in the family of related quinol oxidases. In the current work, this was tested by site-directed mutagenesis. The results show that these residues are not important for catalytic function and do not define the QL substrate binding site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-370
Number of pages5
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Cytochrome bo
  • E. coli
  • Mutagenesis
  • Respiration
  • Ubiquinone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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