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PLOS ONE  2013 

Characteristics and Function of Sulfur Dioxygenase in Echiuran Worm Urechis unicinctus

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081885

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Abstract:

Background Sulfide is a common toxin to animals and is abundant in coastal and aquatic sediments. Sulfur dioxygenase (SDO) is thought to be the key enzyme involved in sulfide oxidation in some organisms. The echiuran worm, Urechis unicinctus, inhabits coastal sediment and tolerates high concentrations of sulfide. The SDO is presumably important for sulfide tolerance in U. unicinctus. Results The full-length cDNA of SDO from the echiuran worm U. unicinctus, proven to be located in the mitochondria, was cloned and the analysis of its sequence suggests that it belongs to the metallo-β-lactamase superfamily. The enzyme was produced using an E. coli expression system and the measured activity is approximately 0.80 U mg protein?1. Furthermore, the expression of four sub-segments of the U. unicinctus SDO was accomplished leading to preliminary identification of functional domains of the enzyme. The identification of the conserved metal I (H113, H115, H169 and D188), metal II (D117, H118, H169 and H229) as well as the potential glutathione (GSH) (R197, Y231, M279 and I283) binding sites was determined by enzyme activity and GSH affinity measurements. The key residues responsible for SDO activity were identified by analysis of simultaneous mutations of residues D117 and H118 located close to the metal II binding site. Conclusion The recombinant SDO from U. unicinctus was produced, purified and characterized. The metal binding sites in the SDO were identified and Y231 recognized as the mostly important amino acid residue for GSH binding. Our results show that SDO is located in the mitochondria where it plays an important role in sulfide detoxification of U. unicinctus.

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