Journal of biochemistry

The enzyme engineering of mutant homodimer and heterodimer of coproporphyinogen oxidase contributes to new insight into hereditary coproporphyria and harderoporphyria.

PMID 24078084


Hereditary coproporphyria (HCP) is an autosomal dominant-inherited disease of haem biosynthesis caused by partial deficiency of the enzyme coproporphyrinogen oxidase (CPOX). Patients with HCP show <50% of normal activity and those with the rare autosomal recessive harderoporphyria accumulate harderoporphyrinogen, an intermediate porphyrin of the CPOX reaction. To clarify the relationship of the low enzyme activity with these diseases, we expressed mutant CPOX carrying His-tag from these porphyria patients and co-expressed mutant CPOX carrying His-tag and normal CPOX carrying HA-tag in a tandem fashion in Escherichia coli. Purification of the His-tag-containing enzyme revealed that the His-enzyme forms a heterodimer in association with the HA-enzyme, and analysis using a cross-link reagent confirmed that the enzyme is a dimer (∼70 kDa). Then, we expressed homo- and heterodimers composed of the wild-type (wt) and engineered mutants of the enzyme or mutants from HCP patients. The monomer form of mutated CPOX did not show any activity and homodimeric enzymes derived from HCP mutant showed low activity (<20% of the control). Some mutations of amino acids 401-404 were associated with marked accumulation of harderoporphyrinogen, with a decrease in the production of protoporphyrinogen, whereas K404E derived from patients with harderoporphyria produced less harderoporphyrinogen. The heterodimers with wt and mutated subunits from HCP patients showed low protoporphyrinogen producing activity. These results show that the substitution of amino acids from R401 to K404 results in extremely low enzyme activity with either mutant homodimer or heterodimers containing normal and mutated subunits and can be linked to HCP disease.