The iron-containing superoxide dismutase from Propionibacterium shermanii shows, in contrast with other iron superoxide dismutases, only a minor inhibition by azide or fluoride (10–100 mM) of up to 23% at pH 7.8. The activity of the protein with Mn bound to the active site was not diminished under the same conditions. The binding constant between azide and the Fe3+ ion was determined as approx. 2 mM and for fluoride approx. 2.3 mM; they are so far comparable to those known for other iron superoxide dismutases. This seems to be a discrepancy because all other iron superoxide dismutases so far known are described as being inhibited by 50–70% by 10 mM azide. However, towards lower pH there was a drastically increased inhibition by both anions. At pH 6.8 about 80% inhibition was exhibited by azide or fluoride at a concentration of 10 mM or higher. In contrast, on increasing the pH, azide or fluoride still bound to the Fe3+ at the active site but their inhibition capacity decreased. This observation implies that both anions bind to the metal at a position that is empty at low pH, whereas at higher pH water or a negatively charged hydroxyl anion is bound. It is likely that the superoxide anion binds to the same position and has to replace the sixth ligand, leading to a diminished catalytic activity of the superoxide dismutase owing to steric and/or electrostatic inhibition of the ligand.

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