Identification of Crucial Histidines for Heme Binding in the N-terminal Domain of the Heme-regulated eIF2α Kinase

Takayuki Inuzuka, Bo Geon Yun, Haruto Ishikawa, Satoshi Takahashi, Hiroshi Hori, Robert L. Matts, Koichiro Ishimori, Isao Morishima

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21 Citations (Scopus)


The heme-regulated eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α) kinase (HRI) regulates the initiation of protein synthesis in reticulocytes. The binding of NO to the N-terminal heme-binding domain (NTD) of HRI positively modulates its kinase activity. By utilizing UV-visible absorption, resonance Raman, EPR and CD spectroscopies, two histidine residues have been identified that are crucial for the binding of heme to the NTD. The UV-visible absorption and resonance Raman spectra of all the histidine to alanine mutants constructed were similar to those of the unmutated NTD. However, the change in the CD spectra of the NTD construct containing mutation of His78 to Ala (H78A) indicated loss of the specific binding of heme. The EPR spectrum for the ferric H78A mutant was also substantially perturbed. Thus, His78 is one of the axial ligands for the NTD of HRL Significant changes in the EPR spectrum of the H123A mutant were also observed, and heme readily dissociated from both the H123A and the H78A NTD mutants, suggesting that His123 was also an axial heme ligand. However, the CD spectrum for the Soret region of the H123A mutant indicated that this mutant still bound heme specifically. Thus, while both His78 and His123 are crucial for stable heme binding, the effects of their mutations on the structure of the NTD differed. His78 appears to play the primary role in the specific binding of heme to the NTD, acting analogously to the "proximal histidine" ligand of globins, while His123 appears to act as the "distal" heme ligand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6778-6782
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Feb 20


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