How Periplasmic Thioredoxin TlpA Reduces Bacterial Copper Chaperone ScoI and Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit II (CoxB) Prior to Metallation [Protein Structure and Folding]

October 1st, 2014 by Abicht, H. K., Schaerer, M. A., Quade, N., Ledermann, R., Mohorko, E., Capitani, G., Hennecke, H., Glockshuber, R.

Two critical cysteine residues in the copper-A site (CuA) on subunit II (CoxB) of bacterial cytochrome c oxidase lie on the periplasmic side of the cytoplasmic membrane. As the periplasm is an oxidizing environment compared with the reducing cytoplasm, the prediction was that a disulfide bond formed between these cysteines must be eliminated by reduction prior to copper insertion. We show here that a periplasmic thioredoxin (TlpA) acts as a specific reductant not only for the Cu2+-transfer chaperone ScoI but also for CoxB. The dual role of TlpA was documented best with high-resolution crystal structures of the kinetically trapped TlpA-ScoI and TlpA-CoxB mixed-disulfide intermediates. They uncovered surprisingly disparate contact sites on TlpA for each of the two protein substrates. The equilibrium of CoxB reduction by TlpA revealed a thermodynamically favorable reaction, with a less negative redox potential of CoxB (E0' = -231 mV) compared with that of TlpA (E0' = -256 mV). The reduction of CoxB by TlpA via disulfide exchange proved to be very fast, with a rate constant of 8.4 x 104 M-1s-1 that is similar to that found previously for ScoI reduction. Hence, TlpA is a physiologically relevant reductase for both, ScoI and CoxB. While the requirement of ScoI for assembly of the CuA-CoxB complex may be bypassed in vivo by high environmental Cu2+ concentrations, TlpA is essential in this process because only reduced CoxB can bind copper ions.
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