Engineering of pyridine nucleotide specificity of nitrate reductase: Mutagenesis of recombinant cytochrome b reductase fragment of Neurospora crassa NADPH:Nitrate reductase

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Department of Biological Sciences


The cytochrome b reductase fragment of Neurospora crassa NADPH:nitrate reductase (EC was overexpressed in Escherichia coli with a His-tag for purification after mutation of the NADPH binding site. The recombinant enzyme fragment was altered by site-directed mutagenesis guided by the three- dimensional structure of cytochrome b reductase fragment of corn NADH:nitrate reductase (EC Substitution of Asp for Ser920 (using residue numbering for holoNADPH:nitrate reductase of N. crassa) greatly increased preference for NADH. This mutant had nearly the same NADH:ferricyanide reductase k(cat) as wildtype with NADPH. Substitutions for Arg921 had little influence on coenzyme specificity, while substitution of Ser or Gin for Arg932 did. The cytochrome b reductase mutant with greatest preference for NADH over NADPH was the doubly substituted form, Asp for Ser920]Ser for Arg932, but it had low activity and low affinity for coenzymes, which indicated a general loss of specificity in the binding site. Steady-state kinetic constants were determined for wild type and mutants with NADPH and NADH. Wild type had a specificity ratio of 1100, which was defined as the catalytic efficiency (k(cat)/K(m)) for NADPH divided by catalytic efficiency for NADH, while Asp for Ser920 mutant had a ratio of 0.17. Thus, the specificity ratio was reversed by over 6000-fold by a single mutation. Preference for NADPH versus NADH is strongly influenced by presence/absence of a negatively charged amino acid side chain in the binding site for the 2' phosphate of NADPH in nitrate reductase, which may partially account for existence of bispecific NAD(P)H:nitrate reductases (EC

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Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics