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Biochemistry. 1996 Sep 3;35(35):11300-9.

Structural factors governing hemin dissociation from metmyoglobin.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77251-1892, USA.


Rates of hemin dissociation from approximately 100 different metmyoglobin mutants were measured to determine which amino acid residues are important for retaining the prosthetic group. Most of the amino acids examined are within 4 A of the porphyrin ring, but replacements of a number of noncontact residues were also made. Mutations of His93(F8) and Leu89(F4) can result in > 100-fold increases in the rate of hemin loss at pH 5 and 7. Some replacements of the contact residues His64(E7), Val68(E11), His97(FG3), Ile99(FG5), Thr39(C4), and Tyr103(G4) cause > 10-fold changes in the rate of hemin dissociation. Substitutions of the noncontact residues Leu29(B10), Phe46(CD4), and Gly65(E8) can also increase the rate of hemin loss > 10-fold. The key structural factors stabilizing bound hemin in myoglobin are (1) hydrophobic interactions between apolar residues in the heme pocket and the porphyrin ring, (2) the covalent bond between His93(F8) and the Fe3+ atom, and (3) hydrogen bonding between distal residues and coordinated water. Specific electrostatic interactions between the heme propionates and amino acids at the surface of the protein appear to be less important. Loss of these polar interactions can be compensated by increasing the apolar character of either the heme group by esterification of the propionates or replacement of charged surface residues with large apolar side chains [e.g., replacing His97(FG3) with Phe].

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