Covalent attachment of haem to proteins

The association of haem (iron protoporphyrin IX) with proteins confers a wide range of properties upon the proteins. Association may be either non-covalent or covalent; in the latter case, which is of particular interest to this Group, the proteins involved are termed c-type cytochromes.

The covalent attachment of haem to c-type cytochromes in Gram-negative bacteria involves an ensemble of proteins: the Ccm (cytochrome c maturation) apparatus. One member of this ensemble, CcmE, which transiently binds haem and delivers it to the cytochrome, will be studied at high resolution using a combination of protein engineering, porphyrin chemistry and protein biophysics, including high resolution NMR spectroscopy. Insight gained from this system will be used to design and engineer new cytochromes for biotechnology.

Another key area of interest is multihaem cytochromes, especially their structures and conductive properties.