Mechanistic interpretation of the dilution effect for Azotobacter vinelandii and Clostridium pasteurianum nitrogenase catalysis

J. L. Johnson, A. C. Nyborg, P. E. Wilson, A. M. Tolley, F. R. Nordmeyer, G. D. Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nitrogenase activity for Clostridium pasteurianum (Cp) at a Cp2:Cp1 ratio of 1.0 and Azotobacter vinelandii (Av) at Av2:Av1 protein ratios (R) of 1, 4 and 10 is determined as a function of increasing MoFe protein concentration from 0.01 to 5 μM. The rates of ethylene and hydrogen evolution for these ratios and concentrations were measured to determine the effect of extreme dilution on nitrogenase activity. The experimental results show three distinct types of kinetic behavior: (1) a finite intercept along the concentration axis (~0.05 μM MoFe); (2) a non-linear increase in the rate of product formation with increasing protein concentration (~0.2 μM MoFe) and (3) a limiting linear rate of product formation at high protein concentrations (>0.4 μM MoFe). The data are fitted using the following rate equation derived from a mechanism for which two Fe proteins interact cooperatively with a single half of the MoFe protein. v=K1k3R2[MoFe]3K1R2[MoFe]2+K1KR[MoFe]+K. The equation predicts that the cubic dependence in MoFe protein gives rise to the non-linear rate of product formation (the dilution effect) at very low MoFe protein concentrations. The equation also predicts that the rate will vary linearly at high MoFe protein concentrations with increasing MoFe protein concentration. That these limiting predictions are in accord with the experimental results suggests that either two Fe proteins interact cooperatively with a single half of the MoFe protein, or that the rate constants in the Thorneley and Lowe model are more dependent upon the redox state of MoFe protein than previously suspected [R.N. Thornley and D.J. Lowe, Biochem. J. 224 (1984) 887-894]. Previous Klebsiella pneumoniae and Azotobacter chroococcum dilution results were reanalyzed using the above equation. Results from all of these nitrogenases are consistent and suggest that cooperativity is a fundamental kinetic aspect of nitrogenase catalysis. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Protein Structure and Molecular Enzymology
Volume1543
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 30 2000

Keywords

  • Dilution effect
  • Kinetics
  • Nitrogenase

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