The purification, characterization, and primary structure of a small redox protein from Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, an archaebacterium

S. C. McFarlan, C. A. Terrell, H. P.C. Hogenkamp

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A small redox-active protein has been purified to homogeneity from cell- free extracts of the strictly anaerobic thermophilic methanogen, Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum (strain Marburg). The purification consisted of streptomycin sulfate and acid treatments and three chromatographic steps using Sephadex G-75, Mono Q HR 10/10, and Superose 12 HR 10/30 columns. When these procedures were carried out under strictly anaerobic conditions, approximately 3 mg of this protein could be isolated from 45 g of wet cell paste. Like the thioredoxins and glutaredoxins, it is a small acidic protein (pI = 4.2) consisting of 83 amino acids (M(r) = 9136). In the presence of dithiothreitol or dihydrolipoate, the protein serves as a hydrogen donor for the ribonucleotide reductase from Escherichia coli, and it catalyzes the reduction of insulin. However, it does not interact with the thioredoxin reductases from E. coli or Corynebacterium nephridii and does not function as a hydrogen donor for the ribonucleotide reductase of C. nephridii. The amino acid sequences determined by automated Edman degradation of the 14C-carboxymethylated protein and of peptides derived from trypsin and chymotrypsin digestions show a redox-active site -Cys-Pro-Tyr-Cys-, typical of the glutaredoxins. Its amino acid sequence shows moderate identity with the known glutaredoxins (E. coli, yeast, rabbit bone marrow, calf thymus, and pig liver) when the proteins are aligned at the active site. The secondary structure of the glutaredoxin-like protein predicted by the Chou- Fasman procedure shows that it is similar to the known glutaredoxins. However, surprisingly, the protein does not function as a glutathione- disulfide oxidoreductase in the presence of glutathione and glutathione reductase. This glutaredoxin-like protein may be a component of a ribonucleotide-reducing system distinct from the previously described systems utilizing thioredoxin or glutaredoxin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10561-10569
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


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