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  1. Study of α-V70I-substituted nitrogenase MoFe protein identified Fe6 of FeMo-cofactor (Fe 7 S 9 MoC-homocitrate) as a critical N 2 binding/reduction site. Freeze-trapping this enzyme during Ar turnover captured the key catalytic intermediate in high occupancy, denoted E 4 (4H), which has accumulated 4[e − /H + ] as two bridging hydrides, Fe2–H–Fe6 and Fe3–H–Fe7, and protons bound to two sulfurs. E 4 (4H) is poised to bind/reduce N 2 as driven by mechanistically-coupled H 2 reductive-elimination of the hydrides. This process must compete with ongoing hydride protonation (HP), which releases H 2 as the enzyme relaxes to state E 2 (2H), containing 2[e − /H + ] as a hydride and sulfur-bound proton; accumulation of E 4 (4H) in α-V70I is enhanced by HP suppression. EPR and 95 Mo ENDOR spectroscopies now show that resting-state α-V70I enzyme exists in two conformational states, both in solution and as crystallized, one with wild type (WT)-like FeMo-co and one with perturbed FeMo-co. These reflect two conformations of the Ile residue, as visualized in a reanalysis of the X-ray diffraction data of α-V70I and confirmed by computations. EPR measurements show delivery of 2[e − /H + ] to the E 0 state of the WT MoFe protein and to both α-V70I conformations generating E 2 (2H) that contains the Fe3–H–Fe7 bridging hydride; accumulation of another 2[e − /H + ] generates E 4 (4H) with Fe2–H–Fe6 as the second hydride. E 4 (4H) in WT enzyme and a minority α-V70I E 4 (4H) conformation as visualized by QM/MM computations relax to resting-state through two HP steps that reverse the formation process: HP of Fe2–H–Fe6 followed by slower HP of Fe3–H–Fe7, which leads to transient accumulation of E 2 (2H) containing Fe3–H–Fe7. In the dominant α-V70I E 4 (4H) conformation, HP of Fe2–H–Fe6 is passively suppressed by the positioning of the Ile sidechain; slow HP of Fe3–H–Fe7 occurs first and the resulting E 2 (2H) contains Fe2–H–Fe6. It is this HP suppression in E 4 (4H) that enables α-V70I MoFe to accumulate E 4 (4H) in high occupancy. In addition, HP suppression in α-V70I E 4 (4H) kinetically unmasks hydride reductive-elimination without N 2 -binding, a process that is precluded in WT enzyme. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 19, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 28, 2024
  3. null (Ed.)
    Some methane-oxidizing bacteria use the ribosomally synthesized, posttranslationally modified natural product methanobactin (Mbn) to acquire copper for their primary metabolic enzyme, particulate methane monooxygenase. The operons encoding the machinery to biosynthesize and transport Mbns typically include genes for two proteins, MbnH and MbnP, which are also found as a pair in other genomic contexts related to copper homeostasis. While the MbnH protein, a member of the bacterial diheme cytochrome c peroxidase (bC c P)/MauG superfamily, has been characterized, the structure and function of MbnP, the relationship between the two proteins, and their role in copper homeostasis remain unclear. Biochemical characterization of MbnP from the methanotroph Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b now reveals that MbnP binds a single copper ion, present in the +1 oxidation state, with high affinity. Copper binding to MbnP in vivo is dependent on oxidation of the first tryptophan in a conserved WxW motif to a kynurenine, a transformation that occurs through an interaction of MbnH with MbnP. The 2.04-Å-resolution crystal structure of MbnP reveals a unique fold and an unusual copper-binding site involving a histidine, a methionine, a solvent ligand, and the kynurenine. Although the kynurenine residue may not serve as a Cu I primary-sphere ligand, being positioned ∼2.9 Å away from the Cu I ion, its presence is required for copper binding. Genomic neighborhood analysis indicates that MbnP proteins, and by extension kynurenine-containing copper sites, are widespread and may play diverse roles in microbial copper homeostasis. 
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