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Title: Homolytic cleavage of both heme-bound hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen sulfide leads to the formation of sulfheme

Many heme-containing proteins with a histidine in the distal E7 (HisE7) position can form sulfheme in the presence of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and a reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide. For reasons unknown, sulfheme derivatives are formed specifically on solvent-excluded heme pyrrole B. Sulfhemes severely decrease the oxygen-binding affinity in hemoglobin (Hb) and myoglobin (Mb). Here, use of hybrid quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical methods has permitted characterization of the entire process of sulfheme formation in the HisE7 mutant of hemoglobin I (HbI) from Lucina pectinata. This process includes a mechanism for H2S to enter the solvent-excluded active site through a hydrophobic channel to ultimately form a hydrogen bond with H2O2 bound to Fe(III). Proton transfer from H2O2 to His64 to form compound (Cpd) 0, followed by hydrogen transfer from H2S to the Fe(III) H2O2 complex, results in homolytic cleavage of the O–O and S–H bonds to form a reactive thiyl radical (HS*), ferryl heme Cpd II, and a water molecule. Subsequently, the addition of HS to Cpd II, followed by three proton transfer reactions, results in the formation of a three-membered ring ferric sulfheme that avoids migration of the radical to the protein matrix, in contrast to that in othermore » peroxidative reactions. The transformation of this three-membered episulfide ring structure to the five-membered thiochlorin ring structure occurs through a significant potential energy barrier, although both structures are nearly isoenergetic. Both three- and five-membered ring structures reveal longer NB–Fe(III) bonds compared with other pyrrole nitrogen–Fe(III) bonds, which would lead to decreased oxygen binding. Altogether, these results are in agreement with a wide range of experimental data and provide fertile ground for further investigations of sulfheme formation in other heme proteins and additional effects of H2S on cell signaling and reactivity.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [4]
  1. Univ. of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Puerto Rico)
  2. Univ. of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  4. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Physical Chemistry. B, Condensed Matter, Materials, Surfaces, Interfaces and Biophysical Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 120; Journal Issue: 30; Journal ID: ISSN 1520-6106
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States