Multiple low spin forms of the cytochrome c ferrihemochrome. EPR spectra of various eukaryotic and prokaryotic cytochromes c. Academic Article uri icon


  • 1. Despite the same methionine-sulfur:heme-iron:imidazole-nitrogen hemochrome structure observed by x-ray crystallography in four of the seven c-type eukaryotic and prokaryotic cytochromes examined, and the occurrence of the characteristic 695 nm absorption band correlated with the presence of a methionine-sulfur:heme-iron axial ligand in all seven proteins, they fall into two distinct classes on the basis of their EPR and optical spectra. The horse, tuna, and bakers' yeast iso-1 cytochromes c have a predominant neutral pH EPR form with g1=3.06, g2=2.26, and g3=1.25, while the bakers' yeast iso-2 and Euglena cytochromes c, the Rhodospirillum rubrum cytochrome c2, and the Paracoccus denitrificans cytochrome c550 all have a predominant neutral pH EPR form with g1=3.2, g2=2.05, and g3=1.39. The ferricytochromes with g1=3.06 have a B-Q splitting that is approximately 150 cm-1 larger than the ferricytochromes with g1=3.2. 2. Each of the cytochromes displays up to four low spin EPR forms that are in pH-dependent equilibrium and can all be observed at near neutral pH. As the pH is raised the predominant neutral pH form is converted into two forms with g1=3.4 and g1=3.6, identified by comparsion with model compounds and other heme proteins as epsilon-amino:heme-iron:imidazole and bis-epsilon-amino:heme-iron ferrihemochromes, respectively. 3. The pK for the conversion of the predominant neutral pH EPR form into the alkaline pH forms is the same as the pK for the disappearance of the 695 nm absorption band for the cytochromes, even though these pK values range over 2 pH units. This confirms that the g1=3.06 and g1=3.2 forms contain the methionine-sulfur:heme-iron axial ligand while the g1=3.4 and the g1=3.6 forms do not. 4. At extremes of pH, the horse and bakers' yeast iso-1 proteins display several high and low spin forms that are identified, showing that a variety of protein-derived ligands will coordinate to the heme iron including methionine and cysteine sulfur, histidine imidazole, and lysine epsilon-amine. 5. The spectrum of horse cytochrome c with added azide, cyanide, hydroxide, or imidazole as axial ligands has also been examined. 6. From a comparison of the EPR and optical spectral characteristics of these groups of cytochromes with model compounds, it is suggested that the difference between them is due to a change in the hydrogen bonding or perhaps even in the protonation of N-1 of the heme iron-bound histidine imidazole.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Brautigan, D. L., Feinberg, B. A., Hoffman, B. M., Margoliash, E., Preisach, J., & Blumberg, W. E

citation count

  • 192

complete list of authors

  • Brautigan, DL||Feinberg, BA||Hoffman, BM||Margoliash, E||Preisach, J||Blumberg, WE

publication date

  • January 1977