The heme oxygenase(s)-phytochrome system of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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For many pathogenic bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa heme is an essential source of iron. After uptake, the heme molecule is degraded by heme oxygenases to yield iron, carbon monoxide, and biliverdin. The heme oxygenase PigA is only induced under iron-limiting conditions and produces the unusual biliverdin isomers IXβ and IXδ. The gene for a second putative heme oxygenase in P. aeruginosa, bphO, occurs in an operon with the gene bphP encoding a bacterial phytochrome. Here we provide biochemical evidence that bphO encodes for a second heme oxygenase in P. aeruginosa. HPLC, 1H, and 13C NMR studies indicate that BphO is a "classic" heme oxygenase in that it produces biliverdin IXα. The data also suggest that the overall fold of BphO is likely to be the same as that reported for other α-hydroxylating heme oxygenases. Recombinant BphO was shown to prefer ferredoxins or ascorbate as a source of reducing equivalents in vitro and the rate-limiting step for the oxidation of heme to biliverdin is the release of product. In eukaryotes, the release of biliverdin is driven by biliverdin reductase, the subsequent enzyme in heme catabolism. Because P. aeruginosa lacks a biliverdin reductase homologue, data are presented indicating an involvement of the bacterial phytochrome BphP in biliverdin release from BphO and possibly from PigA.

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Journal of Biological Chemistry

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