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Modulation of the Ligand-Field Anisotropy in a Series of Ferric Low-Spin Cytochrome c Mutants derived from Pseudomonas aeruginosa Cytochrome c-551 and Nitrosomonas europaea Cytochrome c-552: A Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Study

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-11-19, 00:00 authored by Giorgio Zoppellaro, Espen Harbitz, Ravinder Kaur, Amy A. Ensign, Kara L. Bren, K. Kristoffer Andersson
Cytochromes of the c type with histidine−methionine (His-Met) heme axial ligation play important roles in electron-transfer reactions and in enzymes. In this work, two series of cytochrome c mutants derived from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa c-551) and from the ammonia-oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas europaea (Ne c-552) were engineered and overexpressed. In these proteins, point mutations were induced in a key residue (Asn64) near the Met axial ligand; these mutations have a considerable impact both on heme ligand-field strength and on the Met orientation and dynamics (fluxionality), as judged by low-temperature electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra. Ne c-552 has a ferric low-spin (S = 1/2) EPR signal characterized by large g anisotropy with gmax resonance at 3.34; a similar large gmax value EPR signal is found in the mitochondrial complex III cytochrome c1. In Ne c-552, deletion of Asn64 (NeN64Δ) changes the heme ligand field from more axial to rhombic (small g anisotropy and gmax at 3.13) and furthermore hinders the Met fluxionality present in the wild-type protein. In Pa c-551 (gmax at 3.20), replacement of Asn64 with valine (PaN64V) induces a decrease in the axial strain (gmax at 3.05) and changes the Met configuration. Another set of mutants prepared by insertion (ins) and/or deletion (Δ) of a valine residue adjacent to Asn64, resulting in modifications in the length of the axial Met-donating loop (NeV65Δ, NeG50N/V65Δ, PaN50G/V65ins), did not result in appreciable alterations of the originally weak (Ne c-552) or very weak (Pa c-551) axial field but had an impact on Met orientation, fluxionality, and relaxation dynamics. Comparison of the electronic fingerprints in the overexpressed proteins and their mutants reveals a linear relationship between axial strain and average paramagnetic heme methyl shifts, irrespective of Met orientation or dynamics. Thus, for these His-Met axially coordinated Fe(III), the large gmax value EPR signal does not represent a special case as is observed for bis-His axially coordinated Fe(III) with the two His planes perpendicular to each other.