Anionic amphiphiles such as sodium- and lithium dodecyl sulfate (SDS, LDS), or arachidonate (AA) initiate NADPH oxidase and proton channel activation in cell-free systems and intact neutrophils. To investigate whether these amphiphiles exert allosteric effects on cytochrome b, trisulfopyrenyl-labeled wheat germ agglutinin (Cascade Blue®-wheat germ agglutinin, CCB-WGA) was used as an extrinsic fluorescence donor for resonance energy transfer (RET) to the intrinsic heme acceptors of detergent-solubilized cytochrome b. In solution, cytochrome b complexed with the CCB-WGA causing a rapid, saturable, carbohydrate-dependent quenching of up to ∼55% of the steady-state fluorescence. Subsequent additions of SDS, LDS, or AA to typical cell-free oxidase assay concentrations completely relaxed the fluorescence quenching. The relaxation effects were specific, and not caused by dissociation of the CCB-WGA-cytochrome b complex or alterations in the spectral properties of the chromophores. In contrast, addition of the oxidase antagonist, arachidonate methyl ester, caused an opposite effect and was able to partially reverse the activator-induced relaxation. We conclude that the activators induce a cytochrome b conformation wherein the proximity or orientation between the hemes and the extrinsic CCB fluorescence donors has undergone a significant change. These events may be linked to NADPH oxidase assembly and activation or proton channel induction. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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