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The vanadium-iron protein of vanadium nitrogenase from Azotobacter chroococcum contains an iron-vanadium cofactor.

By B E Smith, R R Eady, D J Lowe and C Gormal


N-Methylformamide extracts of acid-treated precipitated VFe protein of the V-nitrogenase of Azotobacter chroococcum are yellow-brown in colour and contain vanadium, iron and acid-labile sulphur in the approximate proportions 1:6:5. E.p.r. spectra of the extracts exhibit a weak signal with g values near 4.5, 3.6 and 2.0 characteristic of an S = 3/2 metal-containing centre. The N-methylformamide extracts activated the MoFe protein polypeptides from mutants of nitrogen-fixing bacteria unable to synthesize FeMoco, the active centre of Mo-nitrogenase. The active hybrid protein exhibited the characteristic substrate-reducing phenotype associated with the VFe protein except that it could not reduce N2 to NH3. The above data are interpreted as demonstrating the existence of an iron- and vanadium-containing cofactor, FeVaco, within the VFe protein. It is suggested that nitrogen fixation requires specific interactions between FeVaco or FeMoco and their respective polypeptides. The biosynthesis of these cofactors is discussed

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1988
DOI identifier: 10.1042/bj2500299
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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