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The inactive MoFe protein (NifB-Kp1) of the nitrogenase from nifB mutants of Klebsiella pneumoniae. Its interaction with FeMo-cofactor and the properties of the active MoFe protein formed



The inactive MoFe protein (NifB-Kp1) of the nitrogenase from nifB mutants of Klebsiella pneumoniae. Its interaction with FeMo-cofactor and the properties of the active MoFe protein formed



Biochemical Journal 223(3): 783-792



The inactive MoFe protein (NifB-Kp1) of nitrogenase from nifB mutants of Klebsiella pneumoniae may be activated by addition of the iron-molybdenum cofactor (FeMoco) extracted from active MoFe protein (Kp1). However, when apparently saturated with FeMoco, our preparations of NifB-Kp1 yielded activated protein, Kp1-asm, with a specific activity that was at best only 40% of that expected. This was not due to degradation of Kp1-asm, NifB-Kp1 or FeMoco during the activation reaction. Nor could activation be enhanced by addition of other nif-gene products or other proteins. Whereas fully active Kp1 contains 2 FeMoco/molecule, apparent saturation of our NifB-Kp1 preparations required the binding of only 0.4-0.65 FeMoco/molecule. By using chromatography Kp1-asm could be largely resolved from NifB-Kp1 that had not been activated. However, we were unable to isolate fully active MoFe protein (i.e. Kp1-asm containing 2 FeMoco/molecule) from solutions of NifB-Kp1 activated with FeMoco. The maximum activity/ng-atom of total Mo obtained for our purified Kp1-asm was approximately half the maximum activity for FeMoco. Since all NifB-Kp1 preparations contained some Mo, we suggest that FeMoco activated only those NifB-Kp1 molecules already containing one atom of (non-FeMoco) Mo, thus forming Kp1-asm with 2 Mo but only 1 FeMoco/molecule. Kp1-asm was identical with normal Kp1 in terms of its Mr, stability, e.p.r. signals, pattern of substrate reductions, CO inhibition and ATP/2e ratio. In addition, for preparations of differing specific activity, there was a constant and identical relationship between the e.p.r. signal intensity (from FeMoco) and the activity of both Kp1 and Kp1-asm. Assuming the above hypothesis on the structure of Kp1-asm, these data demonstrate that the two FeMoco sites in wild-type Kp1 operate independently.

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Accession: 044659392

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PMID: 6095809


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