The role of two tryptophans (Trp51 and Trp191) and six tyrosines (Tyr36, Tyr39, Tyr42, Tyr187, Tyr229, and Tyr236) in yeast cytochrome c peroxidase (CcP) has been probed by site-directed mutagenesis. A series of sequential mutations of these redox-active amino acid residues to the corresponding, less oxidizable residues in lignin peroxidase (LiP) resulted in an increasingly more stable compound I, with rate constants for compound I decay decreasing from 57 s-1 for CcP(MI, W191F) to 7 s-1 for CcP-(MI, W191F, W51F, Y187F, Y229F, Y236F, Y36F, Y39E, Y42F). These results provide experimental support for the proposal that the stability of compound I depends on the number of endogenous oxidizable amino acids in proteins. The higher stability of compound I in the variant proteins also makes it possible to observe its visible absorption spectroscopic features more clearly. The effects of the mutations on oxidation of ferrocytochrome c and 2,6-dimethoxyphenol were also examined. Since the first mutation in the series involved the change of Trp191, a residue that plays a critical role in the electron transfer pathway between CcP and cyt c, the ability to oxidize cyt c was negligible for all mutant proteins. On the other hand, the W191F mutation had little effect on the proteins' ability to oxidize 2,6-dimethoxyphenol. Instead, the W51F mutation resulted in the largest increase in the kcat/KM, from 2.1 × 102 to 5.0 × 103 M-1 s-1, yielding an efficiency that is comparable to that of manganese peroxidase (MnP). The effect in W51F mutation can be attributed to the residue's influence on the stability and thus reactivity of the ferryl oxygen of compound II, whose substrate oxidation is the rate-determining step in the reaction mechanism. Finally, out of all mutant proteins in this study, only the variant containing the Y36F, Y39E, and Y42F mutations was found to prevent covalent protein cross-links in the presence of excess hydrogen peroxide and in the absence of exogenous reductants. This finding marks the first time a CcP variant is incapable of forming protein cross-links and confirms that one of the three tyrosines must be involved in the protein cross-linking.
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