- Virtually all age-related neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) can be characterized by the accumulation of proteins inside and outside the cell that are thought to significantly contribute to disease pathogenesis. One of the cell’s primary systems for the degradation of misfolded/damaged proteins is the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), and its impairment is implicated in essentially all NDs. Thus, upregulating this system to combat NDs has garnered a great deal of interest in recent years. Various animal models have focused on stimulating 26S activity and increasing 20S proteasome levels, but thus far, none have targeted intrinsic activation of the 20S proteasome itself.
- Sulfite oxidase (SOX) is a homodimeric molybdoheme enzyme that oxidizes sulfite to sulfate at the molybdenum center. Following substrate oxidation, molybdenum is reduced and subsequently regenerated by two sequential electron transfers (ETs) via heme to cytochrome c. SOX harbors both metals in spatially separated domains within each subunit, suggesting that domain movement is necessary to allow intramolecular ET. To address whether one subunit in a SOX dimer is sufficient for catalysis, we produced heterodimeric SOX variants with abolished sulfite oxidation by replacing the molybdenum-coordinating and essential cysteine in the active site.