Catalytic mechanism of heme oxygenase through EPR and ENDOR of cryoreduced oxy-heme oxygenase and its Asp 140 mutants. Academic Article uri icon


  • Heme oxygenase (HO) catalyzes the O(2)- and NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase-dependent conversion of heme to biliverdin, Fe, and CO through a process in which the heme participates both as a prosthetic group and as a substrate. In the present study, we have generated a detailed reaction cycle for the first monooxygenation step of HO catalysis, conversion of the heme to alpha-meso-hydroxyheme. We employed EPR (using both (16)O(2) and (17)O(2)) and (1)H, (14)N ENDOR spectroscopies to characterize the intermediates generated by 77 K radiolytic cryoreduction and subsequent annealing of wild-type oxy-HO and D140A, F mutants. One-electron cryoreduction of oxy-HO yields a hydroperoxoferri-HO with g-tensor, g = [2.37, 2.187, 1.924]. Annealing of this species to 200 K is accompanied by spectroscopic changes that include the appearance of a new (1)H ENDOR signal, reflecting rearrangements in the active site. Kinetic measurements at 214 K reveal that the annealed hydroperoxoferri-HO species, denoted R, generates the ferri-alpha-meso-hydroxyheme product in a first-order reaction. Disruption of the H-bonding network within the distal pocket of HO by the alanine and phenylalanine mutations of residue D140 prevents product formation. The hydroperoxoferri-HO (D140A) instead undergoes heterolytic cleavage of the O-O bond, ultimately yielding an EPR-silent compound II-like species that does not form product. These results, which agree with earlier suggestions, establish that hydroperoxoferri-HO is indeed the reactive species, directly forming the alpha-meso-hydroxyheme product by attack of the distal OH of the hydroperoxo moiety at the heme alpha-carbon.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

author list (cited authors)

  • Davydov, R., Kofman, V., Fujii, H., Yoshida, T., Ikeda-Saito, M., & Hoffman, B. M

citation count

  • 143

complete list of authors

  • Davydov, Roman||Kofman, Viktoria||Fujii, Hiroshi||Yoshida, Tadashi||Ikeda-Saito, Masao||Hoffman, Brian M

publication date

  • February 2002