5 years ago

Effective intermediate-spin iron in O2-transporting heme proteins [Biophysics and Computational Biology]

Effective intermediate-spin iron in O2-transporting heme proteins [Biophysics and Computational Biology]
Stefan Mebs, Nils Schuth, Matthias Schwalbe, Michael Haumann, Pierre Wrzolek, Dennis Huwald, Anja Hemschemeier

Proteins carrying an iron-porphyrin (heme) cofactor are essential for biological O2 management. The nature of Fe-O2 bonding in hemoproteins is debated for decades. We used energy-sampling and rapid-scan X-ray Kβ emission and K-edge absorption spectroscopy as well as quantum chemistry to determine molecular and electronic structures of unligated (deoxy), CO-inhibited (carboxy), and O2-bound (oxy) hemes in myoglobin (MB) and hemoglobin (HB) solutions and in porphyrin compounds at 20–260 K. Similar metrical and spectral features revealed analogous heme sites in MB and HB and the absence of low-spin (LS) to high-spin (HS) conversion. Amplitudes of Kβ main-line emission spectra were directly related to the formal unpaired Fe(d) spin count, indicating HS Fe(II) in deoxy and LS Fe(II) in carboxy. For oxy, two unpaired Fe(d) spins and, thus by definition, an intermediate-spin iron center, were revealed by our static and kinetic X-ray data, as supported by (time-dependent) density functional theory and complete-active-space self-consistent-field calculations. The emerging Fe-O2 bonding situation includes in essence a ferrous iron center, minor superoxide character of the noninnocent ligand, significant double-bond properties of the interaction, and three-center electron delocalization as in ozone. It resolves the apparently contradictory classical models of Pauling, Weiss, and McClure/Goddard into a unifying view of O2 bonding, tuned toward reversible oxygen transport.

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