In Bacillus subtilis, PerR is a metal-dependent sensor of hydrogen peroxide. PerR is a dimeric zinc protein with a regulatory site that coordinates either Fe2+ (PerR-Zn-Fe) or Mn2+ (PerR-Zn-Mn). Though most of the peroxide sensors use cysteines to detect
H2O2, it has been shown that reaction of PerR-Zn-Fe with H2O2 leads to the oxidation of one histidine residue. Oxidation of PerR leads to the incorporation of one oxygen atom into His37 or His91. This study presents the crystal structure of the oxidized PerR protein (PerR-Zn-ox), which clearly shows a 2-oxo-histidine residue in position 37. Formation of 2-oxo-histidine is demonstrated and quantified by HPLC-MS/MS. EPR experiments indicate that PerR-Zn-H37ox retains a significant affinity for the regulatory metal, whereas PerR-Zn-H91ox shows a considerably reduced affinity for the metal ion. In spite of these major differences in terms of metal binding affinity, oxidation of His37 and/or His91 in PerR prevents DNA binding.