Investigation of the Unusual Electronic Structure of Pyrococcus f uriosus 4Fe Ferredoxin by EPR Spectroscopy of Protein Reduced at Ambient and Cryogenic Temperatures Academic Article uri icon


  • The hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus contains a novel ferredoxin (Pf-Fd) in which, in the native 4Fe form, three of the Fe ions are coordinated to the protein by cysteinyl thiolato ligands, but the fourth Fe is coordinated by an aspartyl carboxylato ligand ([Fe(4)S(4)(cys)(3)(asp)](2)(-)(,3)(-)). Chemical reduction at ambient temperature of the oxidized 4Fe form (Pf-Fd 4Fe-ox, S = 0 ground state, with the cluster core indicated by [Fe(4)S(4)](2+)(ox)) produces a reduced 4Fe form (Pf-Fd 4Fe-red, with the cluster core indicated by [Fe(4)S(4)](+)(red)). Pf-Fd 4Fe-red, [Fe(4)S(4)](+)(red) core, in frozen solution exhibits S = (1)/(2) and (3)/(2) electronic states that are not in thermal equilibrium. The two spin states thus represent alternate ground states of the reduced cluster (cluster cores indicated by [Fe(4)S(4)](+)(red1) and [Fe(4)S(4)](+)(red2), respectively), rather than a ground and excited spin state. Low-temperature (77 K) reduction of 4Fe-ox in frozen solution by gamma-irradiation produces in high yield the reduced state of the cluster that is trapped in the structure of the oxidized parent cluster, and thus has a cluster core denoted by [Fe(4)S(4)](+)(ox). The [Fe(4)S(4)](+)(ox) form also exhibits non thermally converting S = (3)/(2) and (1)/(2) components in the same proportion as seen for [Fe(4)S(4)](+)(red). The EPR signal of the S = (3)/(2) component that results from cryoreduction ([Fe(4)S(4)](+)(ox2)) is indistinguishable, within experimental variability, from that seen in the ambient-temperature, chemically reduced protein ([Fe(4)S(4)](+)(red2)), and the signals of the two S = (1)/(2) components ([Fe(4)S(4)](+)(ox1) and [Fe(4)S(4)](+)(red1), respectively) closely resemble each other, although they are not identical. Previous NMR studies at ambient temperature showed evidence for only one species in fluid solution for both Pf-Fd 4Fe-ox and 4Fe-red. Taken together, the NMR and EPR results indicate that fluid solutions of either oxidized or reduced Pf-Fd contain only one conformer, but that frozen solutions of each contain two distinct conformers, with each one of the pair of oxidized protein forms having a corresponding reduced form. A shift in the coordination mode of the aspartyl carboxylato ligand is proposed to account for this conformational flexibility.

author list (cited authors)

  • Telser, J., Davydov, R., Kim, C., Adams, M., & Hoffman, B. M.

publication date

  • January 1, 1999 11:11 AM