Hexameric ring structure of a thermophilic archaeon NADH oxidase that produces predominantly H2O

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An NADH oxidase (NOX) was cloned from the genome of Thermococcus profundus (NOXtp) by genome walking, and the encoded protein was purified to homogeneity after expression in Escherichia coli. Subsequent analyses showed that it is an FAD-containing protein with a subunit molecular mass of 49 kDa that exists as a hexamer with a native molecular mass of 300 kDa. A ring-shaped hexameric form was revealed by electron microscopic and image processing analyses. NOXtp catalyzed the oxidization of NADH and NADPH and predominantly converted O2 to H2O, but not to H2O2, as in the case of most other NOX enzymess. To our knowledge, this is the first example of a NOX that can produce H2O predominantly in a thermophilic organism. As an enzyme with two cysteine residues, NOXtp contains a cysteinyl redox center at Cys45 in addition to FAD. Mutant analysis suggests that Cys45 in NOXtp plays a key role in the four-electron reduction of O2 to H2O, but not in the two-electron reduction of O2 to H2O2.

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