CD/MCD/VTVH-MCD Studies of Escherichia coli Bacterioferritin Support a Binuclear Iron Cofactor Site

July 28, 2017


CD/MCD/VTVH-MCD Studies of Escherichia coli Bacterioferritin Support a Binuclear Iron Cofactor Site


Yeonju Kwak, Jennifer K. Schwartz, Victor W. Huang, Emily Boice, Donald M. KurtzJr., Edward I. Solomon






Ferritins and bacterioferritins (Bfrs) utilize a binuclear non-heme iron binding site to catalyze oxidation of Fe(II), leading to formation of an iron mineral core within a protein shell. Unlike ferritins, in which the diiron site binds Fe(II) as a substrate, which then autoxidizes and migrates to the mineral core, the diiron site in Bfr has a 2-His/4-carboxylate ligand set that is commonly found in diiron cofactor enzymes. Bfrs could, therefore, utilize the diiron site as a cofactor rather than for substrate iron binding. In this study, we applied circular dichroism (CD), magnetic CD (MCD), and variable-temperature, variable-field MCD (VTVH-MCD) spectroscopies to define the geometric and electronic structures of the biferrous active site in Escherichia coli Bfr. For these studies, we used an engineered M52L variant, which is known to eliminate binding of a heme cofactor but to have very minor effects on either iron oxidation or mineral core formation. We also examined an H46A/D50A/M52L Bfr variant, which additionally disrupts a previously observed mononuclear non-heme iron binding site inside the protein shell. The spectral analyses define a binuclear and an additional mononuclear ferrous site. The biferrous site shows two different five-coordinate centers. After O2 oxidation and re-reduction, only the mononuclear ferrous signal is eliminated. The retention of the biferrous but not the mononuclear ferrous site upon O2 cycling supports a mechanism in which the binuclear site acts as a cofactor for the O2 reaction, while the mononuclear site binds the substrate Fe(II) that, after its oxidation to Fe(III), migrates to the mineral core.




Circular dichroism, Magnetic circular dichroism, Ligand binding, Coordination chemistry, Biochemistry