In the preceding paper the mechanism of catalysis of the manganese-containing superoxide dismutase from Bacillus stearothermophilus was shown to involve a ‘fast cycle’ and a ‘slow cycle’ [McAdam, Fox, Lavelle & Fielden, 1977 (Biochem. J. 165, 71-79)]. Further properties of the enzyme was considered in the present paper. Pulse-radiolysis studies, under conditions of low substrate concentration to (i.e. when the fast cycle predominates), showed that enzyme activity decreases as pH increases (6.5-10.2). Activity was unaffected by the addition of H2O2 or NaN3 but slightly decreased by KCN. Both H2O2 and the reducing radical anion CO2– caused a decrease in A480 of the native enzyme. The rate of the fast catalytic cycle was independent of temperature (5-55 degrees C), and as temperature increases the slow cycle becomes relatively more important. Arrhenius parameters of the rate contants were estimated. The possible identity of the various forms of the enzyme is considered.

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