Computational prediction and in vitro analysis of potential physiological ligands of the bile acid binding site in cytochrome c oxidase.

PMID 24073649


A conserved bile acid site has been crystallographically defined in the membrane domain of mammalian and Rhodobacter sphaeroides cytochrome c oxidase (RsCcO). Diverse amphipathic ligands were shown previously to bind to this site and affect the electron transfer equilibrium between heme a and a3 cofactors by blocking the K proton uptake path. Current studies identify physiologically relevant ligands for the bile acid site using a novel three-pronged computational approach: ROCS comparison of ligand shape and electrostatics, SimSite3D comparison of ligand binding site features, and SLIDE screening of potential ligands by docking. Identified candidate ligands include steroids, nicotinamides, flavins, nucleotides, retinoic acid, and thyroid hormones, which are predicted to make key protein contacts with the residues involved in bile acid binding. In vitro oxygen consumption and ligand competition assays on RsCcO wildtype and its Glu101Ala mutant support regulatory activity and specificity of some of these ligands. An ATP analog and GDP inhibit RsCcO under low substrate conditions, while fusidic acid, cholesteryl hemisuccinate, retinoic acid, and T3 thyroid hormone are more potent inhibitors under both high and low substrate conditions. The sigmoidal kinetics of RsCcO inhibition in the presence of certain nucleotides is reminiscent of previously reported ATP inhibition of mammalian CcO, suggesting regulation involving the conserved core subunits of both mammalian and bacterial oxidases. Ligand binding to the bile acid site is noncompetitive with respect to cytochrome c and appears to arrest CcO in a semioxidized state with some resemblance to the "resting" state of the enzyme.

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Fusidic acid sodium salt, ≥98% (TLC)