Structural Basis of Biological N2O Generation by Bacterial Nitric Oxide Reductase

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Science  17 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6011, pp. 1666-1670
DOI: 10.1126/science.1195591

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Nitric oxide reductase (NOR) is an iron-containing enzyme that catalyzes the reduction of nitric oxide (NO) to generate a major greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2O). Here, we report the crystal structure of NOR from Pseudomonas aeruginosa at 2.7 angstrom resolution. The structure reveals details of the catalytic binuclear center. The non-heme iron (FeB) is coordinated by three His and one Glu ligands, but a His-Tyr covalent linkage common in cytochrome oxidases (COX) is absent. This structural characteristic is crucial for NOR reaction. Although the overall structure of NOR is closely related to COX, neither the D- nor K-proton pathway, which connect the COX active center to the intracellular space, was observed. Protons required for the NOR reaction are probably provided from the extracellular side.

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