Isotope Effects Associated with N2O Production by Fungal and Bacterial Nitric Oxide Reductases: Implications for Enzyme Mechanisms

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 3:10 PM
Eric L. Hegg1, Hui Yang1, Hasand Gandhi1, Ashley McQuarters2, Nicolai Lehnert2 and Nathaniel E Ostrom1, (1)Michigan State Univ, East Lansing, MI, United States, (2)University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is both a powerful greenhouse gas and a key participant in ozone destruction. Microbial activity accounts for over 70% of the N2O produced annually, and the atmospheric concentration of N2O continues to rise. Because the fungal and bacterial denitrification pathways are major contributors to microbial N2O production, understanding the mechanism by which NO is reduced to N2O will contribute to both N2O source tracing and quantification. Our strategy utilizes stable isotopes to probe the enzymatic mechanism of microbial N2O production. Although the use of stable isotopes to study enzyme mechanisms is not new, our approach is distinct in that we employ both measurements of isotopic preferences of purified enzyme and DFT calculations, thereby providing a synergistic combination of experimental and computational approaches.

We analyzed δ18O, δ15Nα (central N atom in N2O), and δ15Nβ (terminal N atom) of N2O produced by purified fungal cytochrome P450 nitric oxide reductase (P450nor) from Histoplasma capsulatum as well as bacterial cytochrome c dependent nitric oxide reductase (cNOR) from Paracoccus denitrificans. P450nor exhibits an inverse kinetic isotope effect for Nβ (KIE = 0.9651) but a normal isotope effect for both Nα (KIE = 1.0127) and the oxygen atom (KIE = 1.0264). These results suggest a mechanism where NO binds to the ferric heme in the P450nor active site and becomes Nβ. Analysis of the NO-binding step indicated a greater difference in zero point energy in the transition state than the ground state, resulting in the inverse KIE observed for Nβ. Following protonation and rearrangement, it is speculated that this complex forms a FeIV-NHOH- species as a key intermediate. Our data are consistent with the second NO (which becomes Nα and O in the N2O product) attacking the FeIV-NHOH- species to generate a FeIII-N2O2H2 complex that enzymatically (as opposed to abiotically) breaks down to release N2O. Conversely, our preliminary data indicate that cNOR exhibits an inverse isotope effect for both Nα and Nβ, but a normal isotope effect for the oxygen. These results are consistent with a very different mechanism for the bimetallic active site in bacterial cNOR in which one NO binds to a non-heme FeB site while the other NO binds to the heme b3 site.