Electrocatalytic Reductions of Nitrite, Nitric Oxide, and Nitrous Oxide by Thermophilic Cytochrome P450 CYP119 in Film-Modified Electrodes and An Analytical Comparison of Its Catalytic Activities with Myoglobin

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Journal of The American Chemical Society


Previous investigations of nitrite and nitric oxide reduction by myoglobin in surfactant film modified electrodes characterized several distinct steps in the denitrification pathway, including isolation of a nitroxyl adduct similar to that proposed in the P450nor catalytic cycle. To investigate the effect of the axial ligand on these biomimetic reductions, we report here a comparison of the electrocatalytic activity of myoglobin (Mb) with a thermophilic cytochrome P450 CYP119. Electrocatalytic nitrite reduction by CYP119 is very similar to that by Mb: two catalytic waves at analogous potentials are observed, the first corresponding to the reduction of nitric oxide, the second to the production of ammonia. CYP119 is a much more selective catalyst, giving almost exclusively ammonia during the initial half-hour of reductive electrolysis of nitrite. More careful investigations of specific steps in the catalytic cycle show comparable rates of nitrite dehydration and almost identical potentials and lifetimes for ferrous nitroxyl intermediate (FeII-NO-) in CYP119 and Mb. The catalytic efficiency of nitric oxide reduction is reduced for CYP119 as compared to Mb, attributable to both a lower affinity of the protein for NO and a decreased rate of N−N coupling. Isotopic labeling studies show ammonia incorporation into nitrous oxide produced during nitrite reduction, as has been termed co-denitrification for certain bacterial and fungal nitrite reductases. Mb has a much higher co-denitrification activity than CYP119. Conversely, CYP119 is shown to be slightly more efficient at the two-electron reduction of N2O to N2. These results suggest that thiolate ligation does not significantly alter the catalytic reactivity, but the dramatic difference in product distribution may suggest an important role for protein stability in the selectivity of biocatalysts.


This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (P.J.F.; Grant CHE-0100774). J.C. acknowledges funding by the Committee on Research, University of California, Irvine.