Titration of native ascorbate oxidase from green zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo) with azide in 0.1 M-phosphate buffer, pH 6.8, exhibits a biphasic spectral behaviour. Binding of the anion with ‘high affinity’ (K greater than 5000 M-1) produces a broad increase of absorption in the 400-500 nm region (delta epsilon approximately 1000 M-1.cm-1) and c.d. activity in the 300-450 nm region, whereas azide binding with ‘low affinity’ (K approximately 100 M-1) is characterized by an intense absorption band at 420 nm (delta epsilon = 6000 M-1.cm-1), corresponding to negative c.d. activity and a decrease of absorption at 330 nm (delta epsilon = -2000 M-1.cm-1). The high-affinity binding involves a minor fraction of the protein containing Type 3 copper in the reduced state, and the spectral features of this azide adduct can be eliminated by treatment of the native enzyme with small amounts of H2O2, followed by dialysis before azide addition. As shown by e.s.r. spectroscopy, Type 2 copper is involved in both types of binding, its signal being converted into that of a species with small hyperfine splitting constant [12 mT (approximately 120 G)] in the case of the low-affinity azide adduct. The spectral similarities of the two types of azide adducts with the corresponding adducts formed by native laccase, which also exhibits Type 3 copper heterogeneity, are discussed.

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