Leghemoglobin green derivatives with nitrated hemes evidence production of highly reactive nitrogen species during aging of legume nodules
Globins constitute a superfamily of proteins widespread in all kingdoms of life, where they fulfill multiple functions, such as efficient O(2) transport and modulation of nitric oxide bioactivity. In plants, the most abundant Hbs are the symbiotic leghemoglobins (Lbs) that scavenge O(2) and facilitate its diffusion to the N(2)-fixing bacteroids in nodules. The biosynthesis of Lbs during nodule formation has been studied in detail, whereas little is known about the green derivatives of Lbs generated during nodule senescence. Here we characterize modified forms of Lbs, termed Lba(m), Lbc(m), and Lbd(m), of soybean nodules. These green Lbs have identical globins to the parent red Lbs but their hemes are nitrated. By combining UV-visible, MS, NMR, and resonance Raman spectroscopies with reconstitution experiments of the apoprotein with protoheme or mesoheme, we show that the nitro group is on the 4-vinyl. In vitro nitration of Lba with excess nitrite produced several isomers of nitrated heme, one of which is identical to those found in vivo. The use of antioxidants, metal chelators, and heme ligands reveals that nitration is contingent upon the binding of nitrite to heme Fe, and that the reactive nitrogen species involved derives from nitrous acid and is most probably the nitronium cation. The identification of these green Lbs provides conclusive evidence that highly oxidizing and nitrating species are produced in nodules leading to nitrosative stress. These findings are consistent with a previous report showing that the modified Lbs are more abundant in senescing nodules and have aberrant O(2) binding.
Navascués J, Pérez-Rontomé C, Gay M, Marcos M, Yang F, Walker FA, Desbois A, Abián J, Becana M (2012) Leghemoglobin green derivatives with nitrated hemes evidence production of highly reactive nitrogen species during aging of legume nodules.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109, 2660-2665