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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 11;102(41):14581-6. Epub 2005 Sep 30.

Changes in hydrogen-bond strengths explain reduction potentials in 10 rubredoxin variants.

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Graduate Program in Biophysics, National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison, University of Wisconsin, 433 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The rubredoxin from Clostridium pasteurianum (CpRd) provides an excellent system for investigating how the protein sequence modulates the reduction potential of the active site in an iron-sulfur protein. (15)N NMR spectroscopy has allowed us to determine with unprecedented accuracy the strengths of all six key hydrogen bonds between protein backbone amides and the sulfur atoms of the four cysteine residues that ligate the iron in the oxidized (Fe(III)) and reduced (Fe(II)) forms of wild-type CpRd and nine mutants (V44G, V44A, V44I, V44L, V8G, V8A, V8I, V8L, and V8G/V44G). The length (or strength) of each hydrogen bond was inferred from the magnitude of electron spin delocalized across the hydrogen bond from the iron atom onto the nitrogen. The aggregate lengths of these six hydrogen bonds are shorter in both oxidation states in variants with higher reduction potential than in those with lower reduction potential. Differences in aggregate hydrogen bonding upon reduction correlate linearly with the published reduction potentials for the 10 CpRd variants, which span 126 mV. Sequence effects on the reduction potential can be explained fully by their influence on hydrogen-bond strengths.

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