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Biochemistry. 1994 Nov 15;33(45):13413-30.

Ligand binding to heme proteins: the effect of light on ligand binding in myoglobin.

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Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 61801-3080.


Extended illumination slows the rebinding of CO to myoglobin after photodissociation at cryogenic temperatures. Two types of models have been put forward to explain the effect: motions of the CO within the heme pocket or conformational transitions of the protein. To resolve this ambiguity, we have studied the effect of extended illumination on ligand binding to horse and sperm whale myoglobin (hMb and swMb) with temperature-derivative spectroscopy, monitoring the reaction in the CO stretch bands in the infrared and the conformation-sensitive band III near 760 nm. The experiments show that the stretch frequency of the photodissociated CO does not change upon illumination, implying that the slowing of the CO rebinding is caused by conformational relaxation of Mb from the bound state toward the deoxy structure. The light-induced relaxation (LIR) depends on the number of photons absorbed but not on the light intensity or duration separately. LIR occurs on photon absorption in either the bound or photodissociated state and depends on the temperature at which the MbCO is illuminated. The LIR proceeds in jumps through a small number of conformational substates. The effective barrier for rebinding increases with each step. The substates populated are similar to those found in the thermally-induced relaxation (TIR) that is observed above 160 K. LIR depends markedly on the structural details; it differs for swMbCO and hMbCO and even for the three A substates of swMbCO. Pronounced differences exist between the effects in MbCO and MbO2. The similarity of LIR and TIR leads to a revised model for ligand binding to swMbCO and hMbCO, in which the relaxation is crucial for the escape of the ligand from the pocket, as was first suggested by Friedman [Friedman, J. M. (1985) Science 228, 1273-1280].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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