Semiquinone-Induced Maturation of Bacillus anthracis Ribonucleotide Reductase by a Superoxide Intermediate [Molecular Biophysics]

September 27th, 2014 by Berggren, G., Duraffourg, N., Sahlin, M., Sjoberg, B.-M.

Ribonucleotide reductases (RNRs) catalyze the conversion of ribonucleotides to deoxyribonucleotides, and represent the only de novo pathway to provide DNA building blocks. Three different classes of RNR are known, denoted I-III. Class I RNRs are heteromeric proteins built up by α and β subunits and are further divided into different subclasses, partly based on the metal content of the β-subunit. In subclass Ib RNR the β-subunit is denoted NrdF, and harbors a manganese-tyrosyl radical cofactor. The generation of this cofactor is dependent on a flavodoxin-like maturase denoted NrdI, responsible for the formation of an active oxygen species suggested to be either a superoxide or a hydroperoxide. Herein we report on the magnetic properties of the manganese-tyrosyl radical cofactor of Bacillus anthracis NrdF and the redox properties of B. anthracis NrdI. The tyrosyl radical in NrdF is stabilized through its interaction with a ferromagnetically coupled manganese dimer. Moreover, we show through a combination of redox titration and protein electrochemistry that in contrast to hitherto characterized NrdIs, the B. anthracis NrdI is stable in its semiquinone form (NrdIsq) with a difference in electrochemical potential of approximately 110 mV between the hydroquinone and semiquinone state. The under anaerobic conditions stable NrdIsq is fully capable of generating the oxidized, tyrosyl radical-containing form of Mn-NrdF when exposed to oxygen. This latter observation strongly supports that a superoxide radical is involved in the maturation mechanism, and contradicts the participation of a peroxide species. Additionally, EPR spectra on whole cells revealed that a significant fraction of NrdI resides in its semiquinone form in vivo, underscoring that NrdIsq is catalytically relevant.