Clarifying the Copper Coordination Environment in a de Novo Designed Red Copper Protein.
ABSTRACT: Cupredoxins are copper-dependent electron-transfer proteins that can be categorized as blue, purple, green, and red depending on the spectroscopic properties of the Cu(II) bound forms. Interestingly, despite significantly different first coordination spheres and nuclearity, all cupredoxins share a common Greek Key ?-sheet fold. We have previously reported the design of a red copper protein within a completely distinct three-helical bundle protein, ?3DChC2. (1) While this design demonstrated that a ?-barrel fold was not requisite to recapitulate the properties of a native cupredoxin center, the parent peptide ?3D was not sufficiently stable to allow further study through additional mutations. Here we present the design of an elongated protein GRAND?3D (GR?3D) with ? Gu = -11.4 kcal/mol compared to the original design's -5.1 kcal/mol. Diffraction quality crystals were grown of GR?3D (a first for an ?3D peptide) and solved to a resolution of 1.34 Å. Examination of this structure suggested that Glu41 might interact with the Cu in our previously reported red copper protein. The previous bis(histidine)(cysteine) site (GR?3DChC2) was designed into this new scaffold and a series of variant constructs were made to explore this hypothesis. Mutation studies around Glu41 not only prove the proposed interaction, but also enabled tuning of the constructs' hyperfine coupling constant from 160 to 127 × 10-4 cm-1. X-ray absorption spectroscopy analysis is consistent with these hyperfine coupling differences being the result of variant 4p mixing related to coordination geometry changes. These studies not only prove that an Glu41-Cu interaction leads to the ?3DChC2 construct's red copper protein like spectral properties, but also exemplify the exact control one can have in a de novo construct to tune the properties of an electron-transfer Cu site.
Project description:Interactions of the axial ligand with its blue copper center are known to be important in tuning spectroscopic and redox properties of cupredoxins. While conversion of the blue copper center with a weak axial ligand to a green copper center containing a medium strength axial ligand has been demonstrated in cupredoxins, converting the blue copper center to a red copper center with a strong axial ligand has not been reported. Here we show that replacing Met121 in azurin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa with Cys caused an increased ratio (R(L)) of absorption at 447 nm over that at 621 nm. Whereas no axial Cu-S(Cys121) interaction in Met121Cys was detectable by extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy at pH 5, similar to what was observed in native azurin with Met121 as the axial ligand, the Cu-S(Cys121) interaction at 2.74 A is clearly visible at higher pH. Despite the higher R(L) and stronger axial Cys121 interaction with Cu(II) ion, the Met121Cys variant remains largely a type 1 copper protein at low pH (with hyperfine coupling constant A( parallel) = 54 x 10(-4) cm(-1) at pH 4 and 5), or distorted type 1 or green copper protein at high pH (A(parallel) = 87 x 10(-4) cm(-1) at pH 8 and 9), attributable to the relatively long distance between the axial ligand and copper and the constraint placed by the protein scaffold. To shorten the distance between axial ligand and copper, we replaced Met121 with a nonproteinogenic amino acid homocysteine that contains an extra methylene group, resulting in a variant whose spectra (R(L)= 1.5, and A(parallel) = 180 x 10(-4) cm(-1)) and Cu-S(Cys) distance (2.22 A) are very similar to those of the red copper protein nitrosocyanin. Replacing Met121 with Cys or homocysteine resulted in lowering of the reduction potential from 222 mV in the native azurin to 95 +/- 3 mV for Met121Cys azurin and 113 +/- 6 mV for Met121Hcy azurin at pH 7. The results strongly support the "coupled distortion" model that helps explain axial ligand tuning of spectroscopic properties in cupredoxins, and demonstrate the power of using unnatural amino acids to address critical chemical biological questions.
Project description:Cupredoxins are widespread copper-binding proteins, mainly involved in electron transfer pathways. They display a typical rigid greek key motif consisting of an eight stranded β-sandwich. A fascinating feature of cupredoxins is the natural diversity of their copper center geometry. These geometry variations give rise to drastic changes in their color, such as blue, green, red or purple. Based on several spectroscopic and structural analyses, a connection between the geometry of their copper-binding site and their color has been proposed. However, little is known about the relationship between such diversity of copper center geometry in cupredoxins and possible implications for function. This has been difficult to assess, as only a few naturally occurring green and red copper sites have been described so far. We report herein the spectrocopic characterization of a novel kind of single domain cupredoxin of green color, involved in a respiratory pathway of the acidophilic organism Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Biochemical and spectroscopic characterization coupled to bioinformatics analysis reveal the existence of some unusual features for this novel member of the green cupredoxin sub-family. This protein has the highest redox potential reported to date for a green-type cupredoxin. It has a constrained green copper site insensitive to pH or temperature variations. It is a green-type cupredoxin found for the first time in a respiratory pathway. These unique properties might be explained by a region of unknown function never found in other cupredoxins, and by an unusual length of the loop between the second and the fourth copper ligands. These discoveries will impact our knowledge on non-engineered green copper sites, whose involvement in respiratory chains seems more widespread than initially thought.
Project description:In this work, we characterized the intermolecular electron transfer (ET) properties of a de novo designed metallopeptide using laser-flash photolysis. ?3D-CH3 is three helix bundle peptide that was designed to contain a copper ET site that is found in the ?-barrel fold of native cupredoxins. The ET activity of Cu?3D-CH3 was determined using five different photosensitizers. By exhibiting a complete depletion of the photo-oxidant and the successive formation of a Cu(II) species at 400 nm, the transient and generated spectra demonstrated an ET transfer reaction between the photo-oxidant and Cu(I)?3D-CH3. This observation illustrated our success in integrating an ET center within a de novo designed scaffold. From the kinetic traces at 400 nm, first-order and bimolecular rate constants of 10(5) s(-1) and 10(8) M(-1) s(-1) were derived. Moreover, a Marcus equation analysis on the rate versus driving force study produced a reorganization energy of 1.1 eV, demonstrating that the helical fold of ?3D requires further structural optimization to efficiently perform ET. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics--the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Project description:Sco is a mononuclear red copper protein involved in the assembly of cytochrome c oxidase. It is spectroscopically similar to red copper nitrosocyanin, but unlike the latter, which has one copper cysteine thiolate, the former has two. In addition to the two cysteine ligands (C45 and C49), the wild-type (WT) protein from Bacillus subtilis (hereafter named BSco) has a histidine (H135) and an unknown endogenous protein oxygen ligand in a distorted tetragonal array. We have compared the properties of the WT protein to variants in which each of the two coordinating Cys residues has been individually mutated to Ala, using UV/visible, Cu and S K-edge X-ray absorption, electron paramagnetic resonance, and resonance Raman spectroscopies. Unlike the Cu(II) form of native Sco, the Cu(II) complexes of the Cys variants are unstable. The copper center of C49A undergoes autoreduction to the Cu(I) form, which is shown by extended X-ray absorption fine structure to be composed of a novel two-coordinate center with one Cys and one His ligand. C45A rearranges to a new stable Cu(II) species coordinated by C49, H135 and a second His ligand recruited from a previously uncoordinated protein side chain. The different chemistry exhibited by the Cys variants can be rationalized by whether a stable Cu(I) species can be formed by autoredox chemistry. For C49A, the remaining Cys and His residues are trans, which facilitates the formation of the highly stable two-coordinate Cu(I) species, while for C45A such a configuration cannot be attained. Resonance Raman spectroscopy of the WT protein indicates a net weak Cu-S bond strength at approximately 2.24 A corresponding to the two thiolate-copper bonds, whereas the single variant C45A shows a moderately strong Cu-S bond at approximately 2.16 A. S K-edge data give a total covalency of 28% for both Cu-S bonds in the WT protein. These data suggest an average covalency per Cu-S bond lower than that observed for nitrosocyanin and close to that expected for type-2 Cu(II)-thiolate systems. The data are discussed relative to the unique Cu-S characteristics of cupredoxins, from which it is concluded that Sco does not contain highly covalent Cu-S bonds of the type expected for long-range electron-transfer reactivity.
Project description:Stellacyanins are blue (type I) copper glycoproteins that differ from other members of the cupredoxin family in their spectroscopic and electron transfer properties. Until now, stellacyanins have eluded structure determination. Here we report the three-dimensional crystal structure of the 109 amino acid, non-glycosylated copper binding domain of recombinant cucumber stellacyanin refined to 1.6 A resolution. The crystallographic R-value for all 18,488 reflections (sigma > 0) between 50-1.6 A is 0.195. The overall fold is organized in two beta-sheets, both with four beta-stands. Two alpha-helices are found in loop regions between beta-strands. The beta-sheets form a beta-sandwich similar to those found in other cupredoxins, but some features differ from proteins such as plastocyanin and azurin in that the beta-barrel is more flattened, there is an extra N-terminal alpha-helix, and the copper binding site is much more solvent accessible. The presence of a disulfide bond at the copper binding end of the protein confirms that cucumber stellacyanin has a phytocyanin-like fold. The ligands to copper are two histidines, one cysteine, and one glutamine, the latter replacing the methionine typically found in mononuclear blue copper proteins. The Cu-Gln bond is one of the shortest axial ligand bond distances observed to date in structurally characterized type I copper proteins. The characteristic spectroscopic properties and electron transfer reactivity of stellacyanin, which differ significantly from those of other well-characterized cupredoxins, can be explained by its more exposed copper site, its distinctive amino acid ligand composition, and its nearly tetrahedral ligand geometry. Surface features on the cucumber stellacyanin molecule that could be involved in interactions with putative redox partners are discussed.
Project description:Under copper limiting growth conditions the methanotrophic bacterium Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) secrets essentially only one protein, MopE*, to the medium. MopE* is a copper-binding protein whose structure has been determined by X-ray crystallography. The structure of MopE* revealed a unique high affinity copper binding site consisting of two histidine imidazoles and one kynurenine, the latter an oxidation product of Trp130. In this study, we demonstrate that the copper ion coordinated by this strong binding site is in the Cu(I) state when MopE* is isolated from the growth medium of M. capsulatus. The conclusion is based on X-ray Near Edge Absorption spectroscopy (XANES), and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) studies. EPR analyses demonstrated that MopE*, in addition to the strong copper-binding site, also binds Cu(II) at two weaker binding sites. Both Cu(II) binding sites have properties typical of non-blue type II Cu (II) centres, and the strongest of the two Cu(II) sites is characterised by a relative high hyperfine coupling of copper (A(||)?=20 mT). Immobilized metal affinity chromatography binding studies suggests that residues in the N-terminal part of MopE* are involved in forming binding site(s) for Cu(II) ions. Our results support the hypothesis that MopE plays an important role in copper uptake, possibly making use of both its high (Cu(I) and low Cu(II) affinity properties.
Project description:Hard-ligand, high-potential copper sites have been characterized in double mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa azurin (C112D/M121X (X = L, F, I)). These sites feature a small A(zz)(Cu) splitting in the EPR spectrum together with enhanced electron transfer activity. Due to these unique properties, these constructs have been called "type zero" copper sites. In contrast, the single mutant, C112D, features a large A(zz)(Cu) value characteristic of the typical type 2 Cu(II). In general, A(zz)(Cu) comprises contributions from Fermi contact, spin dipolar, and orbital dipolar terms. In order to understand the origin of the low A(zz)(Cu) value of type zero Cu(II), we explored in detail its degree of covalency, as manifested by spin delocalization over its ligands, which affects A(zz)(Cu) through the Fermi contact and spin dipolar contributions. This was achieved by the application of several complementary EPR hyperfine spectroscopic techniques at X- and W-band (?9.5 and 95 GHz, respectively) frequencies to map the ligand hyperfine couplings. Our results show that spin delocalization over the ligands in type zero Cu(II) is different from that of type 2 Cu(II) in the single C112D mutant. The (14)N hyperfine couplings of the coordinated histidine nitrogens are smaller by about 25-40%, whereas that of the (13)C carboxylate of D112 is about 50% larger. From this comparison, we concluded that the spin delocalization of type zero copper over its ligands is not dramatically larger than in type 2 C112D. Therefore, the reduced A(zz)(Cu) value of type zero Cu(II) is largely attributable to an increased orbital dipolar contribution that is related to its larger g(zz) value, as a consequence of the distorted tetrahedral geometry. The increased spin delocalization over the D112 carboxylate in type zero mutants compared to type 2 C112D suggests that electron transfer paths involving this residue are enhanced.
Project description:Cupredoxins are small proteins that contain type I copper centers, which are ubiquitous in nature. They function as electron transfer shuttles between proteins. This review of the structure and properties of native cupredoxins, and those modified by site-directed mutagenesis, illustrates how these proteins may have evolved to specifically bind copper, develop recognition sites for specific redox partners, tune redox potential for a particular function, and allow for efficient electron transfer through the protein matrix. This is relevant to the general understanding of the roles of metals in energy metabolism, respiration and photosynthesis.
Project description:In the copper-catalyzed oxidation of alcohols to aldehydes, a Cu(II)-alkoxide (Cu(II)-OR) intermediate is believed to modulate the ?C-H bond strength of the deprotonated substrate to facilitate the oxidation. As a structural model for these intermediates, we characterized the electronic structure of the stable compound Tp(tBu)Cu(II)(OCH2CF3) (Tp(tBu) = hydro-tris(3-tert-butyl-pyrazolyl)borate) and investigated the influence of the trifluoroethoxide ligand on the electronic structure of the complex. The compound exhibits an electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrum with an unusually large gzz value of 2.44 and a small copper hyperfine coupling Azz of 40 × 10(-4) cm(-1) (120 MHz). Single-crystal electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectra show that the unpaired spin population is highly localized on the copper ion (?68%), with no more than 15% on the ethoxide oxygen. Electronic absorption and magnetic circular dichroism (MCD) spectra show weak ligand-field transitions between 5000 and 12,000 cm(-1) and an intense ethoxide-to-copper charge transfer (LMCT) transition at 24,000 cm(-1), resulting in the red color of this complex. Resonance Raman (rR) spectroscopy reveals a Cu-O stretch mode at 592 cm(-1). Quantum chemical calculations support the interpretation and assignment of the experimental data. Compared to known Cu(II)-thiolate and Cu(II)-alkylperoxo complexes from the literature, we found an increased ? interaction in the Cu(II)-OR bond that results in the spectroscopic features. These insights lay the basis for further elucidating the mechanism of copper-catalyzed alcohol oxidations.
Project description:This work deduces from a series of well-defined copper-doped amino acid crystals, relationships between structural features of the copper complexes, and ligand-bound proton hyperfine parameters. These were established by combining results from electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)/electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) studies, crystallography, and were further assessed by quantum mechanical (QM) calculations. A detailed evaluation of previous studies on Cu(2+) doped into alpha-glycine, triglycine sulfate, alpha-glycylglycine, and L-alanine crystals reveal correlations between geometric features of the copper sites and proton hyperfine couplings from amino-bound and carbon-bound hydrogens. Experimental variations in proton isotropic hyperfine coupling values (a(iso)) could be fit to cosine-square dependences on dihedral angles, namely, for C(alpha)-bound hydrogens, a(iso) = -1.09 + 8.21 cos(2) theta MHz, and for amino hydrogens, a(iso) = -6.16 + 4.15 cos(2) phi MHz. For the C(alpha) hydrogens, this dependency suggests a hyperconjugative-like mechanism for transfer of spin density into the hydrogen 1s orbital. In the course of this work, it was also necessary to reanalyze the ENDOR measurements from Cu(2+)-doped alpha-glycine because the initial study determined the (14)N coupling parameters without holding its nuclear quadrupole tensor traceless. This new treatment of the data was needed to correctly align the (14)N hyperfine tensor principal directions in the molecular complex. To provide a theoretical basis for the coupling variations, QM calculations performed at the DFT level were used to compute the proton hyperfine tensors in the four crystal complexes as well as in a geometry-optimized Cu(2+)(glycine)(2) model. These theoretical calculations confirmed systematic changes in couplings with dihedral angles but greatly overestimated the experimental geometric sensitivity to the amino hydrogen isotropic coupling.