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Redesigning the Blue Copper Azurin into a Redox-Active Mononuclear Nonheme Iron Protein: Preparation and Study of Fe(II)-M121E Azurin

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journal contribution
posted on 03.09.2014, 00:00 by Jing Liu, Katlyn K. Meier, Shiliang Tian, Jun-long Zhang, Hongchao Guo, Charles E. Schulz, Howard Robinson, Mark J. Nilges, Eckard Münck, Yi Lu
Much progress has been made in designing heme and dinuclear nonheme iron enzymes. In contrast, engineering mononuclear nonheme iron enzymes is lagging, even though these enzymes belong to a large class that catalyzes quite diverse reactions. Herein we report spectroscopic and X-ray crystallographic studies of Fe­(II)-M121E azurin (Az), by replacing the axial Met121 and Cu­(II) in wild-type azurin (wtAz) with Glu and Fe­(II), respectively. In contrast to the redox inactive Fe­(II)-wtAz, the Fe­(II)-M121EAz mutant can be readily oxidized by Na2IrCl6, and interestingly, the protein exhibits superoxide scavenging activity. Mössbauer and EPR spectroscopies, along with X-ray structural comparisons, revealed similarities and differences between Fe­(II)-M121EAz, Fe­(II)-wtAz, and superoxide reductase (SOR) and allowed design of the second generation mutant, Fe­(II)-M121EM44KAz, that exhibits increased superoxide scavenging activity by 2 orders of magnitude. This finding demonstrates the importance of noncovalent secondary coordination sphere interactions in fine-tuning enzymatic activity.