Control of Nitric Oxide Dynamics by Guanylate Cyclase in Its Activated State

Abstract : Soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) is the target of nitric oxide (NO) released by nitric-oxide synthase in endothelial cells, inducing an increase of cGMP synthesis in response. This heterodimeric protein possesses a regulatory subunit carrying a heme where NO binding occurs, while the second subunit harbors the catalytic site. The binding of NO and the subsequent breaking of the bond between the proximal histidine and the heme-Fe2+ are assumed to induce conformational changes, which are the origin of the catalytic activation. At the molecular level, the activation and deactivation mechanisms are unknown, as is the dynamics of NO once in the heme pocket. Using ultrafast time-resolved absorption spectroscopy, we measured the kinetics of NO rebinding to sGC after photodissociation. The main spectral transient in the Soret band does not match the equilibrium difference spectrum of NO-liganded minus unliganded sGC, and the geminate rebinding was found to be monoexponential and ultrafast (t = 7.5 ps), with a relative amplitude close to unity (0.97). These characteristics, so far not observed in other hemoproteins, indicate that NO encounters a high energy barrier for escaping from the heme pocket once the His-Fe2+ bond has been cleaved; this bond does not reform before NO recombination. The deactivation of isolated sGC cannot occur by only simple diffusion of NO from the heme; therefore, several allosteric states may be inferred, including a desensitized one, to induce NO release. Thus, besides the structural change leading to activation, a consequence of the decoupling of the proximal histidine may also be to induce a change of the heme pocket distal geometry, which raises the energy barrier for NO escape, optimizing the efficiency of NO trapping. The nonsingle exponential character of the NO picosecond rebinding coexists only with the presence of the protein structure surrounding the heme, and the single exponential rate observed in sGC is very likely to be due to a closed conformation of the heme pocket. Our results emphasize the physiological importance of NO geminate recombination in hemoproteins like nitric-oxide synthase and sGC and show that the protein structure controls NO dynamics in a manner adapted to their function. This control of ligand dynamics provides a regulation at molecular level in the function of these enzymes.
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Michel Négrerie, Latifa Bouzhir, Jean-Louis Martin, Ursula Liebl. Control of Nitric Oxide Dynamics by Guanylate Cyclase in Its Activated State. Journal of Biological Chemistry, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2001, 276 (50), pp.46815. ⟨10.1074/jbc.M102224200⟩. ⟨hal-00837035⟩

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