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  1. Flavins are central to countless enzymes but display different reactivities depending on their environments. This is understood to reflect modulation of the flavin electronic structure. To understand changes in orbital natures, energies, and correlation over the ring system, we begin by comparing seven flavin variants differing at C8, exploiting their different electronic spectra to validate quantum chemical calculations. Ground state calculations replicate a Hammett trend and reveal the significance of the flavin π-system. Comparison of higher-level theories establishes CC2 and ACD(2) as methods of choice for characterization of electronic transitions. Charge transfer character and electron correlation prove responsive to themore »identity of the substituent at C8. Indeed, bond length alternation analysis demonstrates extensive conjugation and delocalization from the C8 position throughout the ring system. Moreover, we succeed in replicating a particularly challenging UV/Vis spectrum by implementing hybrid QM/MM in explicit solvents. Our calculations reveal that the presence of nonbonding lone pairs correlates with the change in the UV/Vis spectrum observed when the 8-methyl is replaced by NH2, OH, or SH. Thus, our computations offer routes to understanding the spectra of flavins with different modifications. This is a first step toward understanding how the same is accomplished by different binding environments.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 16, 2022
  2. Hydroxylation of substituted phenols by flavin-dependent monooxygenases is the first step of their biotransformation in various microorganisms. The reaction is thought to proceed via electrophilic aromatic substitution, catalyzed by enzymatic deprotonation of substrate, in single-component hydroxylases that use flavin as a cofactor (group A). However, two-component hydroxylases (group D), which use reduced flavin as a co-substrate, are less amenable to spectroscopic investigation. Herein, we employed 19 F NMR in conjunction with fluorinated substrate analogs to directly measure p K a values and to monitor protein events in hydroxylase active sites. We found that the single-component monooxygenase 3-hydroxybenzoate 6-hydroxylase (3HB6H) depressesmore »the p K a of the bound substrate analog 4-fluoro-3-hydroxybenzoate (4F3HB) by 1.6 pH units, consistent with previously proposed mechanisms. 19 F NMR was applied anaerobically to the two-component monooxygenase 4-hydroxyphenylacetate 3-hydroxylase (HPAH), revealing depression of the p K a of 3-fluoro-4-hydroxyphenylacetate by 2.5 pH units upon binding to the C 2 component of HPAH. 19 F NMR also revealed a p K a of 8.7 ± 0.05 that we attributed to an active-site residue involved in deprotonating bound substrate, and assigned to His-120 based on studies of protein variants. Thus, in both types of hydroxylases, we confirmed that binding favors the phenolate form of substrate. The 9 and 14 kJ/mol magnitudes of the effects for 3HB6H and HPAH-C 2 , respectively, are consistent with p K a tuning by one or more H-bonding interactions. Our implementation of 19 F NMR in anaerobic samples is applicable to other two-component flavin-dependent hydroxylases and promises to expand our understanding of their catalytic mechanisms.« less
  3. Flavin-based electron bifurcation allows enzymes to redistribute energy among electrons by coupling endergonic and exergonic electron transfer reactions. Diverse bifurcating enzymes employ a two-flavin electron transfer flavoprotein (ETF) that accepts hydride from NADH at a flavin (the so-called bifurcating FAD, Bf-FAD). The Bf-FAD passes one electron exergonically to a second flavin thereby assuming a reactive semiquinone state able to reduce ferredoxin or flavodoxin semiquinone. The flavin that accepts one electron and passes it on via exergonic electron transfer is known as the electron transfer FAD (ET-FAD) and is believed to correspond to the single FAD present in canonical ETFs, inmore »domain II. The Bf-FAD is believed to be the one that is unique to bifurcating ETFs, bound between domains I and III. This very reasonable model has yet to be challenged experimentally. Herein we used site-directed mutagenesis to disrupt FAD binding to the presumed Bf site between domains I and III, in the Bf-ETF from Rhodopseudomonas palustris ( Rpa ETF). The resulting protein contained only 0.80 ± 0.05 FAD, plus 1.21 ± 0.04 bound AMP as in canonical ETFs. The flavin was not subject to reduction by NADH, confirming absence of Bf-FAD. The retained FAD displayed visible circular dichroism (CD) similar to that of the ET-FAD of Rpa ETF. Likewise, the mutant underwent two sequential one-electron reductions forming and then consuming anionic semiquinone, reproducing the reactivity of the ET-FAD. These data confirm that the retained FAD in domain II corresponds the ET-FAD. Quantum chemical calculations of the absorbance and CD spectra of each of WT Rpa ETF's two flavins reproduced the observed differences between their CD and absorbance signatures. The calculations for the flavin bound in domain II agreed better with the spectra of the ET-flavin, and those calculated based on the flavin between domains I and III agreed better with spectra of the Bf-flavin. Thus calculations independently confirm the locations of each flavin. We conclude that the site in domain II harbours the ET-FAD whereas the mutated site between domains I and III is the Bf-FAD site, confirming the accepted model by two different tests.« less
  4. Recently, a variety of enzymes have been found to accept electrons from NAD(P)H yet reduce lower-potential carriers such as ferredoxin and flavodoxin semiquinone, in apparent violation of thermodynamics. The reaction is favorable overall, however, because these enzymes couple the foregoing endergonic one-electron transfer to exergonic transfer of the other electron from each NAD(P)H, in a process called 'flavin-based electron bifurcation'. The reduction midpoint potentials (E°s) of the multiple flavins in these enzymes are critical to their mechanisms. We describe methods we have found to be useful for measuring each of the E°s of each of the flavins in bifurcating electronmore »transfer flavoproteins.« less