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Biochemistry. 1991 Apr 23;30(16):3988-4001.

Ligand binding to heme proteins: connection between dynamics and function.

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Department of Physics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 61801.


Ligand binding to heme proteins is studied by using flash photolysis over wide ranges in time (100 ns-1 ks) and temperature (10-320 K). Below about 200 K in 75% glycerol/water solvent, ligand rebinding occurs from the heme pocket and is nonexponential in time. The kinetics is explained by a distribution, g(H), of the enthalpic barrier of height H between the pocket and the bound state. Above 170 K rebinding slows markedly. Previously we interpreted the slowing as a "matrix process" resulting from the ligand entering the protein matrix before rebinding. Experiments on band III, an inhomogeneously broadened charge-transfer band near 760 nm (approximately 13,000 cm-1) in the photolyzed state (Mb*) of (carbonmonoxy)myoglobin (MbCO), force us to reinterpret the data. Kinetic hole-burning measurements on band III in Mb* establish a relation between the position of a homogeneous component of band III and the barrier H. Since band III is red-shifted by 116 cm-1 in Mb* compared with Mb, the relation implies that the barrier in relaxed Mb is 12 kJ/mol higher than in Mb*. The slowing of the rebinding kinetics above 170 K hence is caused by the relaxation Mb*----Mb, as suggested by Agmon and Hopfield [(1983) J. Chem. Phys. 79, 2042-2053]. This conclusion is supported by a fit to the rebinding data between 160 and 290 K which indicates that the entire distribution g(H) shifts. Above about 200 K, equilibrium fluctuations among conformational substates open pathways for the ligands through the protein matrix and also narrow the rate distribution. The protein relaxations and fluctuations are nonexponential in time and non-Arrhenius in temperature, suggesting a collective nature for these protein motions. The relaxation Mb*----Mb is essentially independent of the solvent viscosity, implying that this motion involves internal parts of the protein. The protein fluctuations responsible for the opening of the pathways, however, depend strongly on the solvent viscosity, suggesting that a large part of the protein participates. While the detailed studies concern MbCO, similar data have been obtained for MbO2 and CO binding to the beta chains of human hemoglobin and hemoglobin Z├╝rich. The results show that protein dynamics is essential for protein function and that the association coefficient for binding from the solvent at physiological temperatures in all these heme proteins is governed by the barrier at the heme.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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