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Title: Fe Protein-Independent Substrate Reduction by Nitrogenase MoFe Protein Variants

The reduction of substrates catalyzed by nitrogenase normally requires nucleotide-dependent Fe protein delivery of electrons to the MoFe protein, which contains the active site FeMo-cofactor. Here, it is reported that independent substitution of three amino acids (ß-98Tyr→His, α-64Tyr→His, and ß-99Phe→His) located between the P cluster and FeMo-cofactor within the MoFe protein endows it with the ability to reduce protons to H2, azide to ammonia, and hydrazine to ammonia without the need for Fe protein or ATP. Instead, electrons can be provided by the low potential reductant polyaminocarboxylate ligated Eu(II) (Em -1.1 to -0.84 V vs NHE). The crystal structure of the ß-98Tyr→His variant MoFe protein was determined, revealing only small changes near the amino acid substitution that affect the solvent structure and immediate vicinity between the P cluster and the FeMo-cofactor, with no global conformational changes observed. Computational normal mode analysis on the nitrogenase complex reveal coupling in the motions of the Fe protein and the region of the MoFe protein with these three amino acids, which suggests a possible mechanism for how Fe protein might communicate deep within the MoFe protein subtle changes that profoundly affect intramolecular electron transfer and substrate reduction. This work was supported by a grantmore » from the National Science Foundation (MCB-1330807) to JWP and LCS. This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (DE-SC0010687 and DE-SC0010834 to LCS and DRD) and the Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Bio-Sciences (SR). The coordinates for the ß-98His MoFe protein were deposited with the Protein Data Bank (PDB 4XPI).« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Biochemistry, 54(15):2456-2462
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States