Heme-bound nitroxyl, hydroxylamine, and ammonia ligands as intermediates in the reaction cycle of cytochrome c nitrite reductase: a theoretical study
Cytochrome c nitrite reductase is a multicenter enzyme that uses a five-coordinated heme to perform the six-electron reduction of nitrite to ammonium. In the sulfate reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774, the enzyme is purified as a NrfA2NrfH complex that houses 14 hemes. The number of closely-spaced hemes in this enzyme and the magnetic interactions between them make it very difficult to study the active site by using traditional spectroscopic approaches such as EPR or UV-Vis. Here, we use both catalytic and non-catalytic protein film voltammetry to simply and unambiguously determine the reduction potential of the catalytic heme over a wide range of pH and we demonstrate that proton transfer is coupled to electron transfer at the active site.