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J Am Chem Soc. 2009 Jun 10;131(22):7869-78. doi: 10.1021/ja901868q.

S K-edge XAS and DFT calculations on cytochrome P450: covalent and ionic contributions to the cysteine-Fe bond and their contribution to reactivity.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Experimental covalencies of the Fe-S bond for the resting low-spin and substrate-bound high-spin active site of cytochrome P450 are reported. DFT calculations on the active site indicate that one H-bonding interaction from the protein backbone is needed to reproduce the experimental values. The H-bonding to the thiolate from the backbone decreases the anisotropic pi covalency of the Fe-S bond lowering the barrier of free rotation of the exchangeable axial ligand, which is important for reactivity. The anionic axial thiolate ligand is calculated to lower the Fe(III/II) reduction potential of the active site by more than 1 V compared to a neutral imidazole ligand. About half of this derives from its covalent bonding and half from its electrostatic interaction with the oxidized Fe. This axial thiolate ligand increases the pK(a) of compound 0 (Fe(III)-hydroperoxo) favoring its protonation which promotes O-O bond heterolysis forming compound I. The reactivity of compound I is calculated to be relatively insensitive to the nature of the axial ligand due to opposing reduction potential and proton affinity contributions to the H-atom abstraction energy.

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