Correlating Calmodulin Landscapes with Chemical Catalysis in Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase using Time-Resolved FRET and a 5‑Deazaflavin Thermodynamic Trap

A major challenge in enzymology is the need to correlate the dynamic properties of enzymes with, and understand the impact on, their catalytic cycles. This is especially the case with large, multicenter enzymes such as the nitric oxide synthases (NOSs), where the importance of dynamics has been inferred from a variety of structural, single-molecule, and ensemble spectroscopic approaches but where motions have not been correlated experimentally with mechanistic steps in the reaction cycle. Here we take such an approach. Using time-resolved spectroscopy employing absorbance and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and exploiting the properties of a flavin analogue (5-deazaflavin mononucleotide (5-dFMN)) and isotopically labeled nicotinamide coenzymes, we correlate the timing of CaM structural changes when bound to neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) with the nNOS catalytic cycle. We show that remodeling of CaM occurs early in the electron transfer sequence (FAD reduction), not at later points in the reaction cycle (e.g., FMN reduction). Conformational changes are tightly correlated with FAD reduction kinetics and reflect a transient “opening” and then “closure” of the bound CaM molecule. We infer that displacement of the C-terminal tail on binding NADPH and subsequent FAD reduction are the likely triggers of conformational change. By combining the use of cofactor/coenzyme analogues and time-resolved FRET/absorbance spectrophotometry, we show how the reaction cycles of complex enzymes can be simplified, enabling a detailed study of the relationship between protein dynamics and reaction cycle chemistryan approach that can also be used with other complex multicenter enzymes.