Conformational distribution in protein-bound [3Fe-4S]+ clusters: CW and pulsed EPR and 57Fe ENDOR of D. gigas hydrogenase

Chaoliang Fan, Andrew L.P. Houseman, Peter Doan, Brian M. Hoffman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper discusses 9- and 35-GHz EPR spectra of the Desulfovibrio gigas [3Fe-4S]+ cluster and also describes 35-GHz CW 57Fe ENDOR measurements of isotopically enriched protein. The EPR spectra of [3Fe-4S]+ clusters typically cannot be described by a well-defined g tensor. Their properties instead can be modeled with a formal treatment that assumes there is a distribution in the g values. This treatment implicitly assumes that the EPR spectra of such clusters are controlled by a distribution in protein conformation and cluster structure, but the validity of this assumption has never been confirmed by an experiment that correlates the EPR spectrum of a cluster with a microscopic cluster property. We now report such a correlation. We find that the EPR and the 57Fe ENDOR spectra for the D. gigas cluster can be described jointly in terms of a superposition of contributions from a bimodal distribution in cluster forms. Decomposition of the EPR spectra indicates that the major form has a well-defined structure as reflected in a well-defined g tensor with principal values 2.032, 2.024, and 2.016. The other, minority form shows a significant distribution in g tensor values. 57Fe ENDOR measurements show that the iron ion of the cluster with the largest hyperfine coupling has quite different properties in the two forms, thus confirming the implicit assumption in decompositions of the EPR spectra that the protein exhibits different substates in which the cluster exhibits differing structures and properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3017-3021
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of physical chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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