Crystallographic studies have shown that the F429H mutation of cytochrome P450 2B4 introduces an H-bond between His429 and the proximal thiolate ligand, Cys436, without altering the protein fold but sharply decreases the enzymatic activity and stabilizes the oxyferrous P450 2B4 complex. To characterize the influence of this hydrogen bond on the states of the catalytic cycle, we have used radiolytic cryoreduction combined with electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and (electron-nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectroscopy to study and compare their characteristics for wild-type (WT) P450 2B4 and the F429H mutant. (i) The addition of an H-bond to the axial Cys436 thiolate significantly changes the EPR signals of both low-spin and high-spin heme-iron(III) and the hyperfine couplings of the heme-pyrrole 14N but has relatively little effect on the 1H ENDOR spectra of the water ligand in the six-coordinate low-spin ferriheme state. These changes indicate that the H-bond introduced between His and the proximal cysteine decreases the extent of S - Fe electron donation and weakens the Fe(III)-S bond. (ii) The added H-bond changes the primary product of cryoreduction of the Fe(II) enzyme, which is trapped in the conformation of the parent Fe(II) state. In the wild-type enzyme, the added electron localizes on the porphyrin, generating an S = 3/2 state with the anion radical exchange-coupled to the Fe(II). In the mutant, it localizes on the iron, generating an S = 1/2 Fe(I) state. (iii) The additional H-bond has little effect on g values and 1H-14N hyperfine couplings of the cryogenerated, ferric hydroperoxo intermediate but noticeably slows its decay during cryoannealing. (iv) In both the WT and the mutant enzyme, this decay shows a significant solvent kinetic isotope effect, indicating that the decay reflects a proton-assisted conversion to Compound I (Cpd I). (v) We confirm that Cpd I formed during the annealing of the cryogenerated hydroperoxy intermediate and that it is the active hydroxylating species in both WT P450 2B4 and the F429H mutant. (vi) Our data also indicate that the added H-bond of the mutation diminishes the reactivity of Cpd I.
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