In this work, FTIR difference spectroscopy is used to search for possible binding partners and protonable groups involved in the binding of the quinol to cytochrome bd from Escherichia coli. In addition, the electrochemically induced FTIR difference spectra are compared for preparations of the enzyme isolated from cells grown at different oxygen levels in which the quinone content of the membrane is altered. On this basis, difference signals can be tentatively attributed to the vibrational modes of the different quinones types that are associated with the enzyme depending on growth conditions. Furthermore, vibrational modes due to the redox-dependent reorganization of the protein vary depending on the quinone associated with the isolated enzyme. Of particular interest are the observations that a mode at 1738 cm-1 is decreased and a mode at 1595 cm-1 is increased as observed in direct comparison to the data obtained from samples grown anaerobically. These signals indicate a change in the protonation state of an aspartic or glutamic acid. Since these changes are observed when the ubiquinone ratio in the preparation increases, the data provide evidence for the modulation of the binding site by the interacting quinone and the involvement of an acidic group in the binding site. The tentative assignments of the vibrational modes are supported by electrochemically induced FTIR difference spectra of cytochrome bd in the presence of the specific quinone binding site inhibitors heptylhydroxyquinoline-N-oxide (HQNO) or 2-methyl-3-undecylquinolone-4. Whereas HQNO leads to strong shifts in the FTIR redox difference spectrum, 2-methyl -3-undecylquinolone-4 induces a specific shift of a mode at 1635 cm-1, which likely originates from the displacement of the C=O group of the bound quinone.
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