Vibrational Dynamics of Iron in Cytochrome c

Department of Physics and Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Complex Systems, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (Impact Factor: 3.3). 02/2009; 113(7):2193-200. DOI: 10.1021/jp806574t
Source: PubMed


Nuclear resonance vibrational spectroscopy (NRVS) and Raman spectroscopy on (54)Fe- and (57)Fe-enriched cytochrome c (cyt c) identify multiple bands involving vibrations of the heme Fe. Comparison with predictions from Fe isotope shifts reveals that 70% of the NRVS signal in the 300-450 cm(-1) frequency range corresponds to vibrations resolved in Soret-enhanced Raman spectra. This frequency range dominates the "stiffness", an effective force constant determined by the Fe vibrational density of states (VDOS), which measures the strength of nearest-neighbor interactions with Fe. The stiffness of the low-spin Fe environment in both oxidation states of cyt c significantly exceeds that for the high-spin Fe in deoxymyoglobin, where the 200-300 cm(-1) frequency range dominates the VDOS. This situation is reflected in the shorter Fe-ligand bond lengths in the former with respect to the latter. The longer Fe-S(Met80) in oxidized cyt c with respect to reduced cyt c leads to a decrease in the stiffness of the iron environment upon oxidation. Comparison with NRVS measurements allows us to assess assignments for vibrational modes resolved in this region of the heme Raman spectrum. We consider the possibility that the 372 cm(-1) band in reduced cyt c involves the Fe-S(Met80) bond.

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    • "A number of observations since those studies have suggested caution when directly relating the dielectric response to the VDOS. These include the exploration of the role of local relaxational motions in the THz dielectric response in hydration measurements on lysozyme[17]; nuclear vibrational resonance spectroscopy (NRVS) measurements showing a very slight increase in the VDOS for the modes coupled to the heme Fe with oxidation of CytC[18]; and the report of a large enhancement in the dielectric response for water immediately adjacent to the protein over that of bulk water[19]. This last point is critical in that if the equilibrium water content is dependent on oxidation state, the THz contrast observed may arise from the different water contributions and not from a density of states change. "
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the presence of structural collective motions on a picosecond time scale for the heme protein, cytochrome c, as a function of oxidation and hydration, using terahertz (THz) time-domain spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations. Structural collective mode frequencies have been calculated to lie in this frequency range, and the density of states can be considered a measure of flexibility. A dramatic increase in the THz response occurs with oxidation, with the largest increase for lowest hydrations and highest frequencies. For both oxidation states the measured THz response rapidly increases with hydration saturating above ~25% (g H 2 O/g protein), in contrast to the rapid turn-on in dynamics observed at this hydration level for other proteins. Quasi-harmonic collective vibrational modes and dipole-dipole correlation functions are calculated from the molecular dynamics trajectories. The collective mode density of states alone reproduces the measured hydration dependence providing strong evidence of the existence of these collective motions. The large oxidation dependence is reproduced only by the dipole-dipole correlation function, indicating the contrast arises from diffusive motions consistent with structural changes occurring in the vicinity of a buried internal water molecule.
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    ABSTRACT: Compressibility characterizes three interconnecting properties of a protein: dynamics, structure, and function. The compressibility values for the electron-carrying protein cytochrome c and for other proteins, as well, available in the literature vary considerably. Here, we apply two synchrotron-based techniques--nuclear resonance vibrational spectroscopy and inelastic x-ray scattering--to measure the adiabatic compressibility of this protein. This is the first report of the compressibility of any material measured with this method. Unlike the methods previously used, this novel approach probes the protein globally, at ambient pressure, does not require the separation of protein and solvent contributions to the total compressibility, and uses samples that contain the heme iron, as in the native state. We show, by comparing our results with molecular dynamics predictions, that the compressibility is almost independent of temperature. We discuss potential applications of this method to other materials beyond proteins.
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