When the production of bilirubin by biliverdin reductase was monitored at 460 nm by stopped-flow spectrophotometry a ‘burst’ was observed with a first-order rate constant at pH 8 of 20 s-1. The steady-state rate was established on completion of the ‘burst’. When the reaction was monitored at 401 nm there was no observed steady-state rate, but a diminished pre-steady-state ‘burst’ reaction was still seen with a rate constant of 22 s-1. We argue that the rate-limiting reaction is the dissociation of bilirubin from an enzyme.NADP+.bilirubin complex. With NADPH as the cofactor the hydride-transfer step was shown to exhibit pH-dependence associated with an ionizing group with a pK of 7.2. The kinetics of NADPH binding to the enzyme at pH 7.0 were measured by monitoring the quenching of protein fluorescence on binding the coenzyme.

This content is only available as a PDF.