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Flexibility of the metal-binding region in apo-cupredoxins.


ABSTRACT: Protein-mediated electron transfer is an essential event in many biochemical processes. Efficient electron transfer requires the reorganization energy of the redox event to be minimized, which is ensured by the presence of rigid donor and acceptor sites. Electron transfer copper sites are present in the ubiquitous cupredoxin fold, able to bind one or two copper ions. The low reorganization energy in these metal centers has been accounted for by assuming that the protein scaffold creates an entatic/rack-induced state, which gives rise to a rigid environment by means of a preformed metal chelating site. However, this notion is incompatible with the need for an exposed metal-binding site and protein-protein interactions enabling metallochaperone-mediated assembly of the copper site. Here we report an NMR study that reveals a high degree of structural heterogeneity in the metal-binding region of the nonmetallated Cu(A)-binding cupredoxin domain, arising from microsecond to second dynamics that are quenched upon metal binding. We also report similar dynamic features in apo-azurin, a paradigmatic blue copper protein, suggesting a general behavior. These findings reveal that the entatic/rack-induced state, governing the features of the metal center in the copper-loaded protein, does not require a preformed metal-binding site. Instead, metal binding is a major contributor to the rigidity of electron transfer copper centers. These results reconcile the seemingly contradictory requirements of a rigid, occluded center for electron transfer, and an accessible, dynamic site required for in vivo copper uptake.

SUBMITTER: Zaballa ME 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3386083 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 2CUA

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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