Alternative oxidase: Distribution, induction, properties, structure, regulation, and functions
The trypanosome alternative oxidase (TAO) functions in the African trypanosomes as a cytochrome-independent terminal oxidase, which is essential for their survival in the mammalian host and as it does not exist in the mammalian host is considered to be a promising drug target for the treatment of trypanosomiasis. In the present study, recombinant TAO (rTAO) overexpressed in a haem-deficient Escherichia coli strain has been solubilized from E. coli membranes and purified to homogeneity in a stable and highly active form. Analysis of bound iron detected by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) reveals a stoichiometry of two bound iron atoms per monomer of rTAO. Confirmation that the rTAO was indeed a diiron protein was obtained by EPR analysis which revealed a signal, in the reduced forms of rTAO, with a g-value of 15. The kinetics of ubiquiol-1 oxidation by purified rTAO showed typical Michaelis-Menten kinetics (K(m) of 338microM and V(max) of 601micromol/min/mg), whereas ubiquinol-2 oxidation showed unusual substrate inhibition. The specific inhibitor, ascofuranone, inhibited the enzyme in a mixed-type inhibition manner with respect to ubiquinol-1.