A Designed Metalloenzyme Achieving the Catalytic Rate of a Native Enzyme
Terminal oxidases catalyze four-electron reduction of oxygen to water, and the energy harvested is utilized to drive the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate. While much effort has been made to design a catalyst mimicking the function of terminal oxidases, most biomimetic catalysts have much lower activity than native oxidases. Herein we report a designed oxidase in myoglobin with an O2 reduction rate (52 s–1) comparable to that of a native cytochrome (cyt) cbb3 oxidase (50 s–1) under identical conditions. We achieved this goal by engineering more favorable electrostatic interactions between a functional oxidase model designed in sperm whale myoglobin and its native redox partner, cyt b5, resulting in a 400-fold electron transfer (ET) rate enhancement. Achieving high activity equivalent to that of native enzymes in a designed metalloenzyme offers deeper insight into the roles of tunable processes such as ET in oxidase activity and enzymatic function and may extend into applications such as more efficient oxygen reduction reaction catalysts for biofuel cells.