The e.p.r. spectra of reduced 14NO- and 15NO-bound Pseudomonas nitrite reductase have been investigated at pH 5.8 and 8.0 in four buffer systems. At pH 8.0, absorption spectra indicated that only the haem d1 was NO-bound, but, although quantification of the e.p.r. signals in all cases accounted for NO bound the the haem d1 in both subunits of the enzyme, the precise form of the signals varied with buffer and temperature. A rhombic species, with gx = 2.07, gz = 2.01 and gy = 1.96, represented in the low-temperature spectra seen in all the buffers was converted at high temperatures (approx. 200K) into a form showing a reduced anisotropy. Hyperfine splitting on the gz component of this rhombic signal indicated a nitrogen atom trans to NO and it is proposed that histidine provides the endogenous axial ligand for haem d1. At pH 5.8, absorption spectra indicated NO binding to both haems c and d1 and e.p.r. quantifications accounted for NO-bound haems c and d1 in both enzyme subunits. The e.p.r. spectra at pH 5.8 were generally similar to those at pH 8.0 with respect to g-values and hyperfine coupling constants, but were broader with less well defined hyperfine splittings. As at pH 8, rhombic signals present in spectra at low temperatures were converted to less anisotropic forms at high temperatures. The results are discussed in relation to work on model nitrosyl-protohaem complexes [Yoshimura, Ozaki, Shintani & Watanabe (1979) Arch. Biochem, Biophys. 193, 301-313]. No. e.p.r. signal was observed from oxidized NO-bound Pseudomonas nitrite reductase at pH 6.0, over the temperature range 6-100K.

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