Energy landscapes and catalysis in nitric-oxide synthase.
ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) plays diverse roles in mammalian physiology. It is involved in blood pressure regulation, neurotransmission, and immune response, and is generated through complex electron transfer reactions catalyzed by NO synthases (NOS). In neuronal NOS (nNOS), protein domain dynamics and calmodulin binding are implicated in regulating electron flow from NADPH, through the FAD and FMN cofactors, to the heme oxygenase domain, the site of NO generation. Simple models based on crystal structures of nNOS reductase have invoked a role for large scale motions of the FMN-binding domain in shuttling electrons from the FAD-binding domain to the heme oxygenase domain. However, molecular level insight of the dynamic structural transitions in NOS enzymes during enzyme catalysis is lacking. We use pulsed electron-electron double resonance spectroscopy to derive inter-domain distance relationships in multiple conformational states of nNOS. These distance relationships are correlated with enzymatic activity through variable pressure kinetic studies of electron transfer and turnover. The binding of NADPH and calmodulin are shown to influence interdomain distance relationships as well as reaction chemistry. An important effect of calmodulin binding is to suppress adventitious electron transfer from nNOS to molecular oxygen and thereby preventing accumulation of reactive oxygen species. A complex landscape of conformations is required for nNOS catalysis beyond the simple models derived from static crystal structures of nNOS reductase. Detailed understanding of this landscape advances our understanding of nNOS catalysis/electron transfer, and could provide new opportunities for the discovery of small molecule inhibitors that bind at dynamic protein interfaces of this multidimensional energy landscape.
Project description:Calmodulin (CaM) activates the nitric-oxide synthases (NOS) by a mechanism that is not completely understood. A recent crystal structure showed that bound CaM engages in a bridging interaction with the NOS FMN subdomain. We investigated its importance in neuronal NOS (nNOS) by mutating the two residues that primarily create the bridging interaction (Arg(752) in the FMN subdomain and Glu(47) in CaM). Mutations designed to completely destroy the bridging interaction prevented bound CaM from increasing electron flux through the FMN subdomain and diminished the FMN-to-heme electron transfer by 90%, whereas mutations that partly preserve the interaction had intermediate effects. The bridging interaction appeared to control FMN subdomain interactions with both its electron donor (NADPH-FAD subdomain) and electron acceptor (heme domain) partner subdomains in nNOS. We conclude that the Arg(752)-Glu(47) bridging interaction is the main feature that enables CaM to activate nNOS. The mechanism is bi-modal and links a single structural aspect of CaM binding to specific changes in nNOS protein conformational and electron transfer properties that are essential for catalysis.
Project description:Nitric-oxide synthase (NOS) is required in mammals to generate NO for regulating blood pressure, synaptic response, and immune defense. NOS is a large homodimer with well characterized reductase and oxygenase domains that coordinate a multistep, interdomain electron transfer mechanism to oxidize l-arginine and generate NO. Ca(2+)-calmodulin (CaM) binds between the reductase and oxygenase domains to activate NO synthesis. Although NOS has long been proposed to adopt distinct conformations that alternate between interflavin and FMN-heme electron transfer steps, structures of the holoenzyme have remained elusive and the CaM-bound arrangement is unknown. Here we have applied single particle electron microscopy (EM) methods to characterize the full-length of the neuronal isoform (nNOS) complex and determine the structural mechanism of CaM activation. We have identified that nNOS adopts an ensemble of open and closed conformational states and that CaM binding induces a dramatic rearrangement of the reductase domain. Our three-dimensional reconstruction of the intact nNOS-CaM complex reveals a closed conformation and a cross-monomer arrangement with the FMN domain rotated away from the NADPH-FAD center, toward the oxygenase dimer. This work captures, for the first time, the reductase-oxygenase structural arrangement and the CaM-dependent release of the FMN domain that coordinates to drive electron transfer across the domains during catalysis.
Project description:Nitric oxide synthases (NOS) are modular, calmodulin- (CaM-) dependent, flavoheme enzymes that catalyze oxidation of l-arginine to generate nitric oxide (NO) and citrulline. During catalysis, the FMN subdomain cycles between interaction with an NADPH-FAD subdomain to receive electrons and interaction with an oxygenase domain to deliver electrons to the NOS heme. This process can be described by a three-state, two-equilibrium model for the conformation of the FMN subdomain, in which it exists in two distinct bound states (FMN-shielded) and one common unbound state (FMN-deshielded). We studied how each partner subdomain, the FMN redox state, and CaM binding may regulate the conformational equilibria of the FMN module in rat neuronal NOS (nNOS). We utilized four nNOS protein constructs of different subdomain composition, including the isolated FMN subdomain, and determined changes in the conformational state by measuring the degree of FMN shielding by fluorescence, electron paramagnetic resonance, or stopped-flow spectroscopic techniques. Our results suggest the following: (i) The NADPH-FAD subdomain has a far greater capacity to interact with the FMN subdomain than does the oxygenase domain. (ii) CaM binding has no direct effects on the FMN subdomain. (iii) CaM destabilizes interaction of the FMN subdomain with the NADPH-FAD subdomain but does not measurably increase its interaction with the oxygenase domain. Our results imply that a different set point and CaM regulation exists for either conformational equilibrium of the FMN subdomain. This helps to explain the unique electron transfer and catalytic behaviors of nNOS, relative to other dual-flavin enzymes.
Project description:In nitric-oxide synthases (NOSs), two flexible hinges connect the FMN domain to the rest of the enzyme and may guide its interactions with partner domains for electron transfer and catalysis. We investigated the role of the FMN-FAD/NADPH hinge in rat neuronal NOS (nNOS) by constructing mutants that either shortened or lengthened this hinge by 2, 4, and 6 residues. Shortening the hinge progressively inhibited electron flux through the calmodulin (CaM)-free and CaM-bound nNOS to cytochrome c, whereas hinge lengthening relieved repression of electron flux in CaM-free nNOS and had no impact or slowed electron flux through CaM-bound nNOS to cytochrome c. How hinge length influenced heme reduction depended on whether enzyme flavins were pre-reduced with NADPH prior to triggering heme reduction. Without pre-reduction, changing the hinge length was deleterious; with pre-reduction, the hinge shortening was deleterious, and hinge lengthening increased heme reduction rates beyond wild type. Flavin fluorescence and stopped-flow kinetic studies on CaM-bound enzymes suggested hinge lengthening slowed the domain-domain interaction needed for FMN reduction. All hinge length changes lowered NO synthesis activity and increased uncoupled NADPH consumption. We conclude that several aspects of catalysis are sensitive to FMN-FAD/NADPH hinge length and that the native hinge allows a best compromise among the FMN domain interactions and associated electron transfer events to maximize NO synthesis and minimize uncoupled NADPH consumption.
Project description:Nitric oxide synthase (NOS), a flavo-hemoprotein, is responsible for biosynthesis of nitric oxide (NO) in mammals. Three NOS isoforms, iNOS, eNOS and nNOS (inducible, endothelial, and neuronal NOS), achieve their biological functions by tight control of interdomain electron transfer (IET) process through interdomain interactions. In particular, the FMN-heme IET is essential in coupling electron transfer in the reductase domain with NO synthesis in the heme domain by delivery of electrons required for O2 activation at the catalytic heme site. Emerging evidence indicates that calmodulin (CaM) activates NO synthesis in eNOS and nNOS by a conformational change of the FMN domain from its shielded electron-accepting (input) state to a new electron-donating (output) state, and that CaM is also required for proper alignment of the FMN and heme domains in the three NOS isoforms. In the absence of a structure of full-length NOS, an integrated approach of spectroscopic, rapid kinetic and mutagenesis methods is required to unravel regulation mechanism of the FMN-heme IET process. This is to investigate the roles of the FMN domain motions and the docking between the primary functional FMN and heme domains in regulating NOS activity. The recent developments in this area that are driven by the combined approach are the focuses of this review. A better understanding of the roles of interdomain FMN/heme interactions and CaM binding may serve as a basis for the rational design of new selective modulators of the NOS enzymes.
Project description:In nitric-oxide synthase (NOS) the FMN can exist as the fully oxidized (ox), the one-electron reduced semiquinone (sq), or the two-electron fully reduced hydroquinone (hq). In NOS and microsomal cytochrome P450 reductase the sq/hq redox potential is lower than that of the ox/sq couple, and hence it is the hq form of FMN that delivers electrons to the heme. Like NOS, cytochrome P450BM3 has the FAD/FMN reductase fused to the C-terminal end of the heme domain, but in P450BM3 the ox/sq and sq/hq redox couples are reversed, so it is the sq that transfers electrons to the heme. This difference is due to an extra Gly residue found in the FMN binding loop in NOS compared with P450BM3. We have deleted residue Gly-810 from the FMN binding loop in neuronal NOS (nNOS) to give Delta G810 so that the shorter binding loop mimics that in cytochrome P450BM3. As expected, the ox/sq redox potential now is lower than the sq/hq couple. Delta G810 exhibits lower NO synthase activity but normal levels of cytochrome c reductase activity. However, unlike the wild-type enzyme, the cytochrome c reductase activity of Delta G810 is insensitive to calmodulin binding. In addition, calmodulin binding to Delta G810 does not result in a large increase in FMN fluorescence as in wild-type nNOS. These results indicate that the FMN domain in Delta G810 is locked in a unique conformation that is no longer sensitive to calmodulin binding and resembles the "on" output state of the calmodulin-bound wild-type nNOS with respect to the cytochrome c reduction activity.
Project description:Nitric oxide synthase (NOS), a flavo-hemoprotein, tightly regulates nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and thereby its dual biological activities as a key signaling molecule for vasodilatation and neurotransmission at low concentrations, and also as a defensive cytotoxin at higher concentrations. Three NOS isoforms, iNOS, eNOS and nNOS (inducible, endothelial, and neuronal NOS), achieve their key biological functions by tight regulation of interdomain electron transfer (IET) process via interdomain interactions. In particular, the FMN-heme IET is essential in coupling electron transfer in the reductase domain with NO synthesis in the heme domain by delivery of electrons required for O(2) activation at the catalytic heme site. Compelling evidence indicates that calmodulin (CaM) activates NO synthesis in eNOS and nNOS through a conformational change of the FMN domain from its shielded electron-accepting (input) state to a new electron-donating (output) state, and that CaM is also required for proper alignment of the domains. Another exciting recent development in NOS enzymology is the discovery of importance of the the FMN domain motions in modulating reactivity and structure of the catalytic heme active site (in addition to the primary role of controlling the IET processes). In the absence of a structure of full-length NOS, an integrated approach of spectroscopic (e.g. pulsed EPR, MCD, resonance Raman), rapid kinetics (laser flash photolysis and stopped flow) and mutagenesis methods is critical to unravel the molecular details of the interdomain FMN/heme interactions. This is to investigate the roles of dynamic conformational changes of the FMN domain and the docking between the primary functional FMN and heme domains in regulating NOS activity. The recent developments in understanding of mechanisms of the NOS regulation that are driven by the combined approach are the focuses of this review. An improved understanding of the role of interdomain FMN/heme interaction and CaM binding may serve as the basis for the design of new selective inhibitors of NOS isoforms.
Project description:There is still much that is unknown about how nitric oxide (NO) biosynthesis by NO synthase (NOS) isoform is tightly regulated at the molecular level. This is remarkable because deviated NO production in vivo has been implicated in an increasing number of diseases that currently lack effective treatments, including stroke and cancer. Given the significant public health burden of these diseases, the NOS enzyme family is a key target for development of new pharmaceuticals. Three NOS isoforms, inducible, endothelial and neuronal NOS (iNOS, eNOS and nNOS, respectively), achieve their key biological functions via stringent regulations of interdomain electron transfer (IET) processes. Unlike iNOS, eNOS and nNOS isoforms are controlled by calmodulin (CaM) binding through facilitating catalytically significant IET processes. The CaM-modulated NOS output state is an IET-competent complex between the flavin mononucleotide (FMN) domain and the catalytic heme domain. The output state facilitates the catalytically essential FMN-heme IET, and thereby enables NO production by NOS. Due to lack of reliable techniques for specifically determining the inter-domain FMN-heme interactions and their direct effects on the catalytic heme center, the molecular mechanism that underlies the output state formation remains elusive. The recent developments in our understanding of mechanisms of the NOS output state formation that are driven by a combination of molecular biology, laser flash photolysis, and spectroscopic techniques are the subject of this perspective.
Project description:NADPH-cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (CYPOR) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS), two members of the diflavin oxidoreductase family, are multi-domain enzymes containing distinct FAD and FMN domains connected by a flexible hinge. FAD accepts a hydride ion from NADPH, and reduced FAD donates electrons to FMN, which in turn transfers electrons to the heme center of cytochrome P450 or NOS oxygenase domain. Structural analysis of CYPOR, the prototype of this enzyme family, has revealed the exact nature of the domain arrangement and the role of residues involved in cofactor binding. Recent structural and biophysical studies of CYPOR have shown that the two flavin domains undergo large domain movements during catalysis. NOS isoforms contain additional regulatory elements within the reductase domain that control electron transfer through Ca(2+)-dependent calmodulin (CaM) binding. The recent crystal structure of an iNOS Ca(2+)/CaM-FMN construct, containing the FMN domain in complex with Ca(2+)/CaM, provided structural information on the linkage between the reductase and oxgenase domains of NOS, making it possible to model the holo iNOS structure. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of the dynamics of domain movements during CYPOR catalysis and the role of the NOS diflavin reductase domain in the regulation of NOS isozyme activities.
Project description:Nitric oxide (NO) is a physiological mediator synthesized by NO synthases (NOS). Despite their structural similarity, endothelial NOS (eNOS) has a 6-fold lower NO synthesis activity and 6-16-fold lower cytochrome c reductase activity than neuronal NOS (nNOS), implying significantly different electron transfer capacities. We utilized purified reductase domain constructs of either enzyme (bovine eNOSr and rat nNOSr) to investigate the following three mechanisms that may control their electron transfer: (i) the set point and control of a two-state conformational equilibrium of their FMN subdomains; (ii) the flavin midpoint reduction potentials; and (iii) the kinetics of NOSr-NADP+ interactions. Although eNOSr and nNOSr differed in their NADP(H) interaction and flavin thermodynamics, the differences were minor and unlikely to explain their distinct electron transfer activities. In contrast, calmodulin (CaM)-free eNOSr favored the FMN-shielded (electron-accepting) conformation over the FMN-deshielded (electron-donating) conformation to a much greater extent than did CaM-free nNOSr when the bound FMN cofactor was poised in each of its three possible oxidation states. NADPH binding only stabilized the FMN-shielded conformation of nNOSr, whereas CaM shifted both enzymes toward the FMN-deshielded conformation. Analysis of cytochrome c reduction rates measured within the first catalytic turnover revealed that the rate of conformational change to the FMN-deshielded state differed between eNOSr and nNOSr and was rate-limiting for either CaM-free enzyme. We conclude that the set point and regulation of the FMN conformational equilibrium differ markedly in eNOSr and nNOSr and can explain the lower electron transfer activity of eNOSr.