Indexed on: 02 May '13Published on: 02 May '13Published in: Biochemistry
Multicopper oxidases (MCOs) carry out the most energy efficient reduction of O2 to H2O known, i.e., with the lowest overpotential. This four-electron process requires an electron mediating type 1 (T1) Cu site and an oxygen reducing trinuclear Cu cluster (TNC), consisting of a binuclear type 3 (T3)- and a mononuclear type 2 (T2) Cu center. The rate-determining step in O2 reduction is the first two-electron transfer from one of the T3 Cu's (T3β) and the T2 Cu, forming a bridged peroxide intermediate (PI). This reaction has been investigated in T3β Cu variants of the Fet3p, where a first shell His ligand is mutated to Glu or Gln. This converts the fast two-electron reaction of the wild-type (WT) enzyme to a slow one-electron oxidation of the TNC. Both variants initially react to form a common T3β Cu(II) intermediate that converts to the Glu or Gln bound resting state. From spectroscopic evaluation, the nonmutated His ligands coordinate linearly to the T3β Cu in the reduced TNCs in the two variants, in contrast to the trigonal arrangement observed in the WT enzyme. This structural perturbation is found to significantly alter the electronic structure of the reduced TNC, which is no longer capable of rapidly transferring two electrons to the two perpendicular half occupied π*-orbitals of O2, in contrast to the WT enzyme. This study provides new insight into the geometric and electronic structure requirements of a fully functional TNC for the rate determining two-electron reduction of O2 in the MCOs.