skip to main content

Title: Mapping Hole Hopping Hole Hopping Escape Routes in Proteins
A recently proposed oxidative damage protection mechanism in proteins relies on hole hopping escape routes formed by redox-active amino acids. We present a computational tool to identify the dominant charge hopping pathways through these residues based on the mean residence times of the transferring charge along these hopping pathways. The residence times are estimated by combining a kinetic model with well-known rates expressions for the charge-transfer steps in the pathways. We identify the most rapid hole hopping pathways escape routes in cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (P450 BM3 ), cytochrome c peroxidase (Ccp1), and benzylsuccinate synthase (BSS). This theoretical analysis supports the existence of hole-hopping chains as a mechanism capable of supporting hole escape from protein catalytic sites on biologically relevant timescales. Furthermore, we find that pathways involving the [4Fe4S] cluster as the terminal hole acceptor in BSS are accessible on the millisecond timescale, suggesting a potential protective role of redox-active cofactors for preventing protein oxidative damage.
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Proteins are commonly known to transfer electrons over distances limited to a few nanometers. However, many biological processes require electron transport over far longer distances. For example, soil and sediment bacteria transport electrons, over hundreds of micrometers to even centimeters, via putative filamentous proteins rich in aromatic residues. However, measurements of true protein conductivity have been hampered by artifacts due to large contact resistances between proteins and electrodes. Using individual amyloid protein crystals with atomic-resolution structures as a model system, we perform contact-free measurements of intrinsic electronic conductivity using a four-electrode approach. We find hole transport through micrometer-long stacked tyrosines at physiologically relevant potentials. Notably, the transport rate through tyrosines (105s−1) is comparable to cytochromes. Our studies therefore show that amyloid proteins can efficiently transport charges, under ordinary thermal conditions, without any need for redox-active metal cofactors, large driving force, or photosensitizers to generate a high oxidation state for charge injection. By measuring conductivity as a function of molecular length, voltage, and temperature, while eliminating the dominant contribution of contact resistances, we show that a multistep hopping mechanism (composed of multiple tunneling steps), not single-step tunneling, explains the measured conductivity. Combined experimental and computational studies reveal that proton-coupled electron transfermore »confers conductivity; both the energetics of the proton acceptor, a neighboring glutamine, and its proximity to tyrosine influence the hole transport rate through a proton rocking mechanism. Surprisingly, conductivity increases 200-fold upon cooling due to higher availability of the proton acceptor by increased hydrogen bonding.

    « less
  2. Microbial conversion of aromatic compounds is an emerging and promising strategy for valorization of the plant biopolymer lignin. A critical and often rate-limiting reaction in aromatic catabolism is O -aryl-demethylation of the abundant aromatic methoxy groups in lignin to form diols, which enables subsequent oxidative aromatic ring-opening. Recently, a cytochrome P450 system, GcoAB, was discovered to demethylate guaiacol (2-methoxyphenol), which can be produced from coniferyl alcohol-derived lignin, to form catechol. However, native GcoAB has minimal ability to demethylate syringol (2,6-dimethoxyphenol), the analogous compound that can be produced from sinapyl alcohol-derived lignin. Despite the abundance of sinapyl alcohol-based lignin in plants, no pathway for syringol catabolism has been reported to date. Here we used structure-guided protein engineering to enable microbial syringol utilization with GcoAB. Specifically, a phenylalanine residue (GcoA-F169) interferes with the binding of syringol in the active site, and on mutation to smaller amino acids, efficient syringol O -demethylation is achieved. Crystallography indicates that syringol adopts a productive binding pose in the variant, which molecular dynamics simulations trace to the elimination of steric clash between the highly flexible side chain of GcoA-F169 and the additional methoxy group of syringol. Finally, we demonstrate in vivo syringol turnover in Pseudomonas putida KT2440more »with the GcoA-F169A variant. Taken together, our findings highlight the significant potential and plasticity of cytochrome P450 aromatic O -demethylases in the biological conversion of lignin-derived aromatic compounds.« less
  3. Photosynthetic species evolved to protect their light-harvesting apparatus from photoxidative damage driven by intracellular redox conditions or environmental conditions. The Fenna–Matthews–Olson (FMO) pigment–protein complex from green sulfur bacteria exhibits redox-dependent quenching behavior partially due to two internal cysteine residues. Here, we show evidence that a photosynthetic complex exploits the quantum mechanics of vibronic mixing to activate an oxidative photoprotective mechanism. We use two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy (2DES) to capture energy transfer dynamics in wild-type and cysteine-deficient FMO mutant proteins under both reducing and oxidizing conditions. Under reducing conditions, we find equal energy transfer through the exciton 4–1 and 4–2-1 pathways because the exciton 4–1 energy gap is vibronically coupled with a bacteriochlorophyll-avibrational mode. Under oxidizing conditions, however, the resonance of the exciton 4–1 energy gap is detuned from the vibrational mode, causing excitons to preferentially steer through the indirect 4–2-1 pathway to increase the likelihood of exciton quenching. We use a Redfield model to show that the complex achieves this effect by tuning the site III energy via the redox state of its internal cysteine residues. This result shows how pigment–protein complexes exploit the quantum mechanics of vibronic coupling to steer energy transfer.

  4. Abstract

    Microbial aromatic catabolism offers a promising approach to convert lignin, a vast source of renewable carbon, into useful products. Aryl-O-demethylation is an essential biochemical reaction to ultimately catabolize coniferyl and sinapyl lignin-derived aromatic compounds, and is often a key bottleneck for both native and engineered bioconversion pathways. Here, we report the comprehensive characterization of a promiscuous P450 aryl-O-demethylase, consisting of a cytochrome P450 protein from the family CYP255A (GcoA) and a three-domain reductase (GcoB) that together represent a new two-component P450 class. Though originally described as converting guaiacol to catechol, we show that this system efficiently demethylates both guaiacol and an unexpectedly wide variety of lignin-relevant monomers. Structural, biochemical, and computational studies of this novel two-component system elucidate the mechanism of its broad substrate specificity, presenting it as a new tool for a critical step in biological lignin conversion.

  5. NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) from Sorghum bicolor (SbCPR) serves as an electron donor for cytochrome P450 essential for monolignol and lignin production in this biofuel crop. The CPR enzymes undergo an ample conformational transition between the closed and open states in their functioning. This transition is triggered by electron transfer between the FAD and FMN and provides access of the partner protein to the electron-donating FMN domain. To characterize the electron transfer mechanisms in the monolignol biosynthetic pathway better, we explore the conformational transitions in SbCPR with rapid scanning stop-flow and pressure-perturbation spectroscopy. We used FRET between a pair of donor and acceptor probes incorporated into the FAD and FMN domains of SbCPR, respectively, to characterize the equilibrium between the open and closed states and explore its modulation in connection with the redox state of the enzyme. We demonstrate that, although the closed conformation always predominates in the conformational landscape, the population of open state increases by order of magnitude upon the formation of the disemiquinone state. Our results are consistent with several open conformation sub-states differing in the volume change (ΔV0) of the opening transition. While the ΔV0 characteristic of the oxidized enzyme is as large as −88 mL/mol,more »the interaction of the enzyme with the nucleotide cofactor and the formation of the double-semiquinone state of CPR decrease this value to −34 and −18 mL/mol, respectively. This observation suggests that the interdomain electron transfer in CPR increases protein hydration, while promoting more open conformation. In addition to elucidating the functional choreography of plant CPRs, our study demonstrates the high exploratory potential of a combination of the pressure-perturbation approach with the FRET-based monitoring of protein conformational transitions.« less