Rubrerythrin was purified by multistep chromatography under anaerobic, reducing conditions from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus. It is a homodimer with a molecular mass of 39.2 kDa and contains 2.9 Â± 0.2 iron atoms per subunit. The purified protein had peroxidase activity at 85Â°C using hydrogen peroxide with reduced P. furiosus rubredoxin as the electron donor. The specific activity was 36 Î¼mol of rubredoxin oxidized/min/mg with apparent Km values of 35 and 70 Î¼M for hydrogen peroxide and rubredoxin, respectively. When rubrerythrin was combined with rubredoxin and P. furiosus NADH:rubredoxin oxidoreductase, the complete system used NADH as the electron donor to reduce hydrogen peroxide with a specific activity of 7.0 Î¼mol of H2O2 reduced/min/mg of rubrerythrin at 85Â°C. Strangely, as-purified (reduced) rubrerythrin precipitated when oxidized by either hydrogen peroxide, air, or ferricyanide. The gene (PF1283) encoding rubrerythrin was expressed in Escherichia coli grown in medium with various metal contents. The purified recombinant proteins each contained approximately three metal atoms/subunit, ranging from 0.4 Fe plus 2.2 Zn to 1.9 Fe plus 1.2 Zn, where the metal content of the protein depended on the metal content of the E. coli growth medium. The peroxidase activities of the recombinant forms were proportional to the iron content. P. furiosus rubrerythrin is the first to be characterized from a hyperthermophile or from an archaeon, and the results are the first demonstration that this protein functions in an NADH-dependent, hydrogen peroxide: rubredoxin oxidoreductase system. Rubrerythrin is proposed to play a role in the recently defined anaerobic detoxification pathway for reactive oxygen species.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/francis_jenney/14/