PROSITE documentation PDOC00314
Nitrite and sulfite reductases iron-sulfur/siroheme-binding site


Nitrite reductases (NiR) [1] catalyze the reduction of nitrite into ammonium, the second step in the assimilation of nitrate. There are two types of NiR: the higher plant chloroplastic form of NiR (EC is a monomeric protein that uses reduced ferredoxin as the electron donor; while fungal and bacterial NiR (EC are homodimeric proteins that uses NAD(P)H as the electron donor. Both forms of NiR contain a siroheme-Fe and iron-sulfur centers.

Sulfite reductase (NADPH) (EC (SIR) [2] is the bacterial enzyme that catalyzes the reduction of sulfite to sulfide. SIR is an oligomeric enzyme with a subunit composition of α(8)-β(4), the α component is a flavoprotein (SIR-FP), while the β component is a siroheme, iron-sulfur protein (SIR-HP).

Sulfite reductase (ferredoxin) (EC [3] is a cyanobacterial and plant monomeric enzyme that also catalyzes the reduction of sulfite to sulfide.

Anaerobic sulfite reductase (EC 1.8.1.-) (ASR) [4], a bacterial enzyme that catalyzes the NADH-dependent reduction of sulfite to sulfide. ASR is an oligomeric enzyme composed of three different subunits. The C component (gene asrC) seems to be a siroheme, iron-sulfur protein.

These enzymes share a region of sequence similarity in their C-terminal half; this region which spans about 80 amino acids includes four conserved cysteine residues. Two of the Cys are grouped together at the beginning of the domain, and the two others are grouped in the middle of the domain. The cysteines are involved in the binding of the iron-sulfur center; the last one also binds the siroheme group [2].

We have derived a signature pattern from the region around the second cluster of cysteines.

Last update:

April 2006 / Pattern revised.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

NIR_SIR, PS00365; Nitrite and sulfite reductases iron-sulfur/siroheme-binding site  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsCampbell W.H. Kinghorn K.R.
TitleFunctional domains of assimilatory nitrate reductases and nitrite reductases.
SourceTrends Biochem. Sci. 15:315-319(1990).
PubMed ID2204158

2AuthorsCrane B.R. Siegel L.M. Getzoff E.D.
TitleSulfite reductase structure at 1.6 A: evolution and catalysis for reduction of inorganic anions.
SourceScience 270:59-67(1995).
PubMed ID7569952

3AuthorsGisselmann G. Klausmeier P. Schwenn J.D.
TitleThe ferredoxin:sulphite reductase gene from Synechococcus PCC7942.
SourceBiochim. Biophys. Acta 1144:102-106(1993).
PubMed ID8347657

4AuthorsHuang C.J. Barrett E.L.
TitleSequence analysis and expression of the Salmonella typhimurium asr operon encoding production of hydrogen sulfide from sulfite.
SourceJ. Bacteriol. 173:1544-1553(1991).
PubMed ID1704886

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