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Open Access Research article

Comparative analysis of cyanobacterial superoxide dismutases to discriminate canonical forms

Balakrishnan Priya1, Jagadeesan Premanandh1, Raman T Dhanalakshmi1, Thangaraj Seethalakshmi2, Lakshmanan Uma1, Dharmar Prabaharan1* and Gopalakrishnan Subramanian1

Author Affiliations

1 National Facility for Marine Cyanobacteria (Sponsored by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India), Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli – 620 024, India

2 School of Physics, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli – 620 024, India

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:435  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-435

Published: 27 November 2007

Abstract

Background

Superoxide dismutases (SOD) are ubiquitous metalloenzymes that catalyze the disproportion of superoxide to peroxide and molecular oxygen through alternate oxidation and reduction of their metal ions. In general, SODs are classified into four forms by their catalytic metals namely; FeSOD, MnSOD, Cu/ZnSOD and NiSOD. In addition, a cambialistic form that uses Fe/Mn in its active site also exists. Cyanobacteria, the oxygen evolving photosynthetic prokaryotes, produce reactive oxygen species that can damage cellular components leading to cell death. Thus, the co-evolution of an antioxidant system was necessary for the survival of photosynthetic organisms with SOD as the initial enzyme evolved to alleviate the toxic effect. Cyanobacteria represent the first oxygenic photoautotrophs and their SOD sequences available in the databases lack clear annotation. Hence, the present study focuses on structure and sequence pattern of subsets of cyanobacterial superoxide dismutases.

Result

The sequence conservation and structural analysis of Fe (Thermosynechococcus elongatus BP1) and MnSOD (Anabaena sp. PCC7120) reveal the sharing of N and C terminal domains. At the C terminal domain, the metal binding motif in cyanoprokaryotes is DVWEHAYY while it is D-X-[WF]-E-H-[STA]-[FY]-[FY] in other pro- and eukaryotes. The cyanobacterial FeSOD differs from MnSOD at least in three ways viz. (i) FeSOD has a metal specific signature F184X3A188Q189.......T280......F/Y303 while, in Mn it is R184X3G188G189......G280......W303, (ii) aspartate ligand forms a hydrogen bond from the active site with the outer sphere residue of W243 in Fe where as it is Q262 in MnSOD; and (iii) two unique lysine residues at positions 201 and 255 with a photosynthetic role, found only in FeSOD. Further, most of the cyanobacterial Mn metalloforms have a specific transmembrane hydrophobic pocket that distinguishes FeSOD from Mn isoform. Cyanobacterial Cu/ZnSOD has a copper domain and two different signatures G-F-H-[ILV]-H-x-[NGT]-[GPDA]-[SQK]-C and G-[GA]-G-G-[AEG]-R-[FIL]-[AG]-C-G, while Ni isoform has an nickel containing SOD domain containing a Ni-hook HCDGPCVYDPA.

Conclusion

The present analysis unravels the ambiguity among cyanobacterial SOD isoforms. NiSOD is the only SOD found in lower forms; whereas, Fe and Mn occupy the higher orders of cyanobacteria. In conclusion, cyanobacteria harbor either Ni alone or a combination of Fe and Ni or Fe and Mn as their catalytic active metal while Cu/Zn is rare.