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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Static normal coordinate deformations of the heme group in mutants of ferrocytochrome c from Saccharomyces cerevisiae probed by resonance Raman spectroscopy.

The function of heme proteins is, to a significant extent, influenced by the ligand field probed by the heme iron, which itself can be affected by deformations of the heme macrocycle. The exploration of this field is difficult because the heme structure obtained from X-ray crystallography is not resolved enough to unambiguously identify structural changes on the scale of 10(-2) A. However, asymmetric deformations in this order of magnitude affect the depolarization ratio of the resonance Raman lines assignable to normal vibrations of the heme group. We have measured the dispersion of the depolarization ratios of four structure sensitive Raman bands (i.e., nu4, nu11, nu21, and nu28) in yeast iso-1-ferrocytochrome c and its mutants N52V, Y67F, and N52VY67F with B- and Q-band excitation. The DPR dispersion of all bands indicates the presence of asymmetric in-plane and out-of-plane deformations. The replacement of the polar tyrosine residue at position 67 by phenylalanine significantly increases the triclinic B2g deformation, which involves a distortion of the pyrrole symmetry. We relate this deformation to changes of the electronic structure of pyrrole A, which modulates the interaction between its propionate substituents and the protein environment. This specific heme deformation is eliminated in the double mutant N52VY67F. The additional substitution of N52 by valine induces a tetragonal B1g deformation which involves asymmetric changes of the Fe-N distances and increases the rhombicity of the ligand field probed by the heme iron. This heme deformation might be caused by the elimination of the water-protein hydrogen-bonding network in the heme cavity. The single mutation N52V does not significantly perturb the heme symmetry, but a small B1g deformation is consistent with our data and the heme structure obtained from a 1 ns molecular dynamics simulation of the protein.[1]


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