Most aerobic organisms contain catalase which functions to decompose hydrogen peroxide. Typical catalases are structurally complex homo-tetrameric enzymes with one heme prosthetic group buried in each subunit. It is not known how catalase in the cell is assembled from its constituents. The bacterium Enterococcus faecalis cannot synthesize heme but can acquire it from the environment to form a cytoplasmic catalase. We have in E. faecalis monitored production of the enzyme polypeptide (KatA) depending on the availability of heme and used our findings to devise a procedure for the purification of preparative amounts of in vivo-synthesized apocatalase. We show that fully active catalase can be obtained in vitro by incubating isolated apoprotein with hemin. We have characterized features of the assembly process and describe a temperature-trapped hemylated intermediate of the enzyme maturation process. Hemylation of apocatalase does not require auxiliary cell components but rapid assembly of active enzyme seemingly is assisted in the cell. Our findings provide insight about catalase assembly and offer new experimental possibilities for detailed studies of this process.
- Biologiska vetenskaper