Photoinitiated singlet and triplet electron transfer across a redesigned [Myoglobin, Cytochrome b 5] interface

Judith M. Nocek, Amanda K. Knutson, Peng Xiong, Nadia Petlakh Co, Brian M. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We describe a strategy by which reactive binding of a weakly bound, adynamically docked (DD)'complex without a known structure can be strengthened electrostatically through optimized placement of surface charges, and discuss its use in modulating complex formation between myoglobin (Mb) and cytochrome b5 (b5). The strategy employs paired Brownian dynamics (BD) simulations, one which monitors overall binding, the other reactive binding, to examine [X - K] mutations on the surface of the partners, with a focus on single and multiple [D/E - K] charge reversal mutations. This procedure has been applied to the [Mb, b5] complex, indicating mutations of Mb residues D44, D60, and E85 to be the most promising, with combinations of these showing a nonlinear enhancement of reactive binding. A novel method of displaying BD profiles shows that the 'hits' of b5 on the surfaces of Mb(WT), Mb(D44K/D60K), and Mb(D44K/D60K/E85K) progressively coalesce into two 'clusters': a 'diffuse' cluster of hits that are distributed over the Mb surface and have negligible electrostatic binding energy and a 'reactive' cluster of hits with considerable stability that are localized near its heme edge, with short Fe-Fe distances favorable to electron transfer (ET). Thus, binding and reactivity progressively become correlated by the mutations. This finding relates to recent proposals that complex formation is a two-step process, proceeding through the formation of a weakly bound encounter complex to a well-defined bound complex. The design procedure has been tested through measurements of photoinitiated ET between the Zn-substituted forms of Mb(WT), Mb(D44K/D60K), and Mb(D44K/D60K/E85K) and Fe3+b5. Both mutants convert the complex from the DD regime exhibited by Mb(WT), in which the transient complex is in fast kinetic exchange with its partners, k off ≫ ket, to the slow-exchange regime, ket ≫ koff, and both mutants exhibit rapid intracomplex ET from the triplet excited state to Fe3+b5 (rate constant, k et ≈ 106 s-1). The affinity constants of the mutant Mbs cannot be derived through conventional analysis procedures because intracomplex singlet ET quenching causes the triplet-ground absorbance difference to progressively decrease during a titration, but this effect has been incorporated into a new procedure for computing binding constants. Most importantly, these measurements reveal the presence of fast photoinduced singlet ET across the protein-protein interface, 1ket ≈ 2 - 108 s-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6165-6175
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number17
StatePublished - May 5 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Photoinitiated singlet and triplet electron transfer across a redesigned [Myoglobin, Cytochrome b 5] interface'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this