XAS Investigation of Silver(I) Coordination in Copper(I) Biological Binding Sites

July 28, 2017


XAS Investigation of Silver(I) Coordination in Copper(I) Biological Binding Sites


Guilia Veronesi, Thomas Gallon, Aurélien Deniaud, Bastien Boff, Christelle Gateau, Colette Lebrun, Claude Vidaud, Françoise Rollin-Genetet, Marie Carrière, Isabelle Kieffer, Elisabeth Mintz, Pascale Delangle, Isabelle Michaud-Soret




Inorganic Chemistry


Silver(I) is an unphysiological ion that, as the physiological copper(I) ion, shows high binding affinity for thiolate ligands; its toxicity has been proposed to be due to its capability to replace Cu(I) in the thiolate binding sites of proteins involved in copper homeostasis. Nevertheless, the nature of the Ag(I)–thiolate complexes formed within cells is poorly understood, and the details of Ag(I) coordination in such complexes in physiologically relevant conditions are mostly unknown. By making use of X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), we characterized the Ag(I) binding sites in proteins related to copper homeostasis, such as the chaperone Atox1 and metallothioneins (MTs), as well as in bioinspired thiolate Cu(I) chelators mimicking these proteins, in solution and at physiological pH. Different Ag(I) coordination environments were revealed: the Ag–S bond length was found to correlate to the Ag(I) coordination number, with characteristic values of 2.40 and 2.49 Å in AgS2 and AgS3 sites, respectively, comparable to the values reported for crystalline Ag(I)–thiolate compounds. The bioinspired Cu(I) chelator L1 is proven to promote the unusual trigonal AgS3 coordination and, therefore, can serve as a reference compound for this environment. In the Cu(I)-chaperone Atox1, Ag(I) binds in digonal coordination to the two Cys residues of the Cu(I) binding loop, with the AgS2 characteristic bond length of 2.40 ± 0.01 Å. In the multinuclear Ag(I) clusters of rabbit and yeast metallothionein, the average Ag–S bond lengths are 2.48 ± 0.01 Å and 2.47 ± 0.01 Å, respectively, both indicative of the predominance of trigonal AgS3 sites. This work lends insight into the coordination chemistry of silver in its most probable intracellular targets and might help in elucidating the mechanistic aspects of Ag(I) toxicity.




Circular dichroism, Coordination chemistry, Ligand binding, Inorganic chemistry, Toxicology