A minigene encoding the C-terminal domain of the 2Fe rubredoxin of Pseudomonas oleovorans was created from the parental alk G gene contained in the expression plasmid pKK223-3. The vector directed the high-level production of the C-terminal domain of this rubredoxin; a simple procedure was used to purify the recombinant domain in the 1Fe form. The 1Fe form of the C-terminal domain was readily converted into the apoprotein and cadmium forms after precipitation with trichloroacetic acid and resolubilization in the presence or absence of cadmium chloride respectively. In steady-state assays, the recombinant 1Fe C-terminal domain is redox-active and able to transfer electrons from reduced rubredoxin reductase to cytochrome c. The absorption spectrum and dichroic features of the CD spectrum for the iron- and cadmium-substituted C-terminal domain are similar to those reported for the iron- and cadmium-substituted Desulfovibrio gigas rubredoxin [Henehen, Pountney, Zerbe and Vasak (1993) Protein Sci. 2, 1756–1764]. Difference absorption spectroscopy of the cadmium-substituted C-terminal domain revealed the presence of four Gaussian-resolved maxima at 202, 225, 240 and 276nm; from J⊘rgensen's electronegativity theory, the 240nm band is attributable to a CysS-Cd(II) charge-transfer excitation. Attempts to express the N-terminal domain of the 2Fe rubredoxin directly from a minigene were unsuccessful. However, the N-terminal domain was isolated through cleavage of an engineered 2Fe rubredoxin in which a factor Xa proteolysis site had been introduced into the putative interdomain linker. The N-terminal domain is characterized by absorption spectra typical of the 1Fe rubredoxins. The domain is folded as determined by CD and NMR spectroscopies and is redox-active. However, the N-terminal domain is less stable than the isolated C-terminal domain, a finding consistent with the known properties of the full-length 2Fe and cadmium-substituted Ps. oleovorans rubredoxin.

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