Studies of the intracellular role of myoglobin were carried out by recording spectrophotometric changes in acid metmyoglobin and oxymyoglobin during electron transport reactions with mitochondria prepared from pigeon heart muscle by the method of Chance and Hagihara. The absorption peak of metmyoglobin at 409 mµ disappeared when substrate was added to normal or antimycin-inhibited preparations, and was replaced by a new maximum at 423 to 424 mµ, identified as due to the oxidation to ferrylmyoglobin. Further investigation revealed that the oxidation of metmyoglobin took place with the simultaneous oxidation of reduced flavoprotein. Hydrogen peroxide, formed by the reaction of reduced flavoprotein with oxygen, was considered to be the probable intermediate for the oxidation of metmyoglobin in experiments in which catalase was added as a competitor for the oxidant. When DPNH was added to the reaction mixture, the reductant acted to resynthesize the ferri-derivative by reaction with ferrylmyoglobin. Oxymyoglobin could not be used in place of metmyoglobin in these systems. Under the experimental conditions, oxymyoglobin dissociated when dissolved oxygen was depleted from the medium by enzyme oxidations; the resultant ferromyoglobin underwent oxidation to metmyoglobin.

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