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Biochemistry. 2004 Feb 24;43(7):1798-808.

Phe393 mutants of cytochrome P450 BM3 with modified heme redox potentials have altered heme vinyl and propionate conformations.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, New York University, 31 Washington Place, Room 1001, New York, New York 10003, USA.


It has been well established that the heme redox potential is affected by many different factors. Among others, it is sensitive to the proximal heme ligand and the conformation of the propionate and vinyl groups. In the cytochrome P450 BM3 heme domain, substitution of the highly conserved phenylalanine 393 results in a dramatic change in the heme redox potential [Ost, T. W. B., Miles, C. S., Munro, A. W., Murdoch, J., Reid, G. A., and Chapman, S. K. (2001) Biochemistry 40, 13421-13429]. We have used resonance Raman spectroscopy to characterize heme structural changes and modification of heme interactions with the protein matrix that are induced by the F393 substitutions and to determine their correlation with the heme redox potential. Our results show that the Fe-S stretching frequency of the 5-coordinated, high-spin ferric heme is not affected by the mutations, suggesting that the electron density in the Fe-S bond in this state is not affected by the F393 mutation and is not a good indicator of the heme redox potential. Substrate binding perturbs the hydrogen bonding between one propionate group and the protein matrix and correlates to both the size of residue 393 and the heme redox potential. However, heme reduction does not affect the conformation of the propionate groups. Although the conformation of the vinyl groups is not affected much by substrate binding, their conformation changes from mainly out-of-plane to predominantly in-plane upon heme reduction. The extent of these conformational changes correlates strongly with the size of the 393 residue and the heme redox potential, suggesting that steric interaction between this residue and the vinyl groups may be of importance in regulating the heme redox potential in the P450 BM3 heme domain. Further implications of our findings for the change in redox potential upon mutation of F393 will be discussed.

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