Background: IsdG is a novel heme-degrading enzyme found in pathogenic bacteria. Results: MhuD, an IsdG-type enzyme from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, degrades heme into unusual tetrapyrroles without generating carbon monoxide. Conclusion: The unique MhuD reaction is mechanistically distinct from that of canonical heme oxygenase enzymes. Significance: Nonplanarity of heme in the IsdG-type enzymes appears to cause a new degradation pathway. MhuD is an oxygen-dependent heme-degrading enzyme from Mycobacterium tuberculosis with high sequence similarity (∼45%) to Staphylococcus aureus IsdG and IsdI. Spectroscopic and mutagenesis studies indicate that the catalytically active 1:1 heme-MhuD complex has an active site structure similar to those of IsdG and IsdI, including the nonplanarity (ruffling) of the heme group bound to the enzyme. Distinct from the canonical heme degradation, we have found that the MhuD catalysis does not generate CO. Product analyses by electrospray ionization-MS and NMR show that MhuD cleaves heme at the α-meso position but retains the meso-carbon atom at the cleavage site, which is removed by canonical heme oxygenases. The novel tetrapyrrole product of MhuD, termed “mycobilin,” has an aldehyde group at the cleavage site and a carbonyl group at either the β-meso or the δ-meso position. Consequently, MhuD catalysis does not involve verdoheme, the key intermediate of ring cleavage by canonical heme oxygenase enzymes. Ruffled heme is apparently responsible for the heme degradation mechanism unique to MhuD. In addition, MhuD heme degradation without CO liberation is biologically significant as one of the signals of M. tuberculosis transition to dormancy is mediated by the production of host CO.
Shusuke Nambu, T. Matsui, C. Goulding
The Journal of Biological Chemistry