Heme Binding to HupZ with a C-Terminal Tag from Group A Streptococcus




Traore, Ephrahime S.
Li, Jiasong
Chiura, Tapiwa
Geng, Jiafeng
Sachla, Ankita J.
Yoshimoto, Francis
Eichenbaum, Zehava
Davis, Ian
Mak, Piotr J.
Liu, Aimin

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HupZ is an expected heme degrading enzyme in the heme acquisition and utilization pathway in Group A Streptococcus. The isolated HupZ protein containing a C-terminal V5-His6 tag exhibits a weak heme degradation activity. Here, we revisited and characterized the HupZ-V5-His6 protein via biochemical, mutagenesis, protein quaternary structure, UV–vis, EPR, and resonance Raman spectroscopies. The results show that the ferric heme-protein complex did not display an expected ferric EPR signal and that heme binding to HupZ triggered the formation of higher oligomeric states. We found that heme binding to HupZ was an O2-dependent process. The single histidine residue in the HupZ sequence, His111, did not bind to the ferric heme, nor was it involved with the weak heme-degradation activity. Our results do not favor the heme oxygenase assignment because of the slow binding of heme and the newly discovered association of the weak heme degradation activity with the His6 -tag. Altogether, the data suggest that the protein binds heme by its His6 -tag, resulting in a heme-induced higher-order oligomeric structure and heme stacking. This work emphasizes the importance of considering exogenous tags when interpreting experimental observations during the study of heme utilization proteins.



GAS, iron acquisition, heme stacking, Streptococcus, EPR, resonance Raman spectroscopy, metal-binding proteins, multimeric heme complexation, protein quaternary structure


Molecules 26 (3): 549 (2021)