Mssbauer, EPR, and magnetization studies of the Azotobacter vinelandii Fe protein. Evidence for a [4Fe-4S]1+ cluster with spin S = 3/2. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have studied the Fe protein (Av2) of the Azotobacter vinelandii nitrogenase system with Mssbauer and EPR spectroscopies and magnetic susceptometry. In the oxidized state the protein exhibits Mssbauer spectra typical of diamagnetic [4Fe-4S]2+ clusters. Addition of Mg.ATP or Mg.ADP causes a pronounced decline in the quadrupole splitting of the Mssbauer spectra of the oxidized protein. Our studies show that reduced Av2 in the native state is heterogeneous. Approximately half of the molecules contain a [4Fe-4S]1+ cluster with electronic spin S = 1/2 and half contain a [4Fe-4S]1+ cluster with spin S = 3/2. The former yields the characteristic g = 1.94 EPR signal whereas the latter exhibits signals around g = 5. The magnetization of reduced Av2 is dominated by the spin S = 3/2 form of its [4Fe-4S]1+ clusters. These results explain a long standing puzzle, namely why the integrated spin intensity of the g = 1.94 EPR signal is substantially less than 1 spin/4 Fe atoms. In 50% ethylene glycol, 90% of the clusters are in the spin S = 1/2 form whereas, in 0.4 M urea, 85% are in the S = 3/2 form. In 0.4 M urea, the EPR spectrum of reduced Av2 exhibits well defined resonances at g = 5.8 and 5.15, which we assign to the S = 3/2 system. The EPR and Mssbauer studies yield a zero-field splitting of 2D approximately equal to -5 cm-1 for this S = 3/2 state.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Lindahl, P. A., Day, E. P., Kent, T. A., Orme-Johnson, W. H., & Mnck, E.

citation count

  • 184

complete list of authors

  • Lindahl, PA||Day, EP||Kent, TA||Orme-Johnson, WH||M√ľnck, E

publication date

  • January 1985