Molecular dynamics of a cytochrome c-cytochrome b5 electron transfer complex

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Science  06 Nov 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4828, pp. 794-797
DOI: 10.1126/science.2823387


Cytochrome c and cytochrome b5 form an electrostatically associated electron transfer complex. Computer models of this and related complexes that were generated by docking the x-ray structures of the individual proteins have provided insight into the specificity and mechanism of electron transfer reactions. Previous static modeling studies were extended by molecular dynamics simulations of a cytochrome c-cytochrome b5 intermolecular complex. The simulations indicate that electrostatic interactions at the molecular interface results in a flexible association complex that samples alternative interheme geometries and molecular conformations. Many of these transient geometries appear to be more favorable for electron transfer than those formed in the initial model complex. Of particular interest is a conformational change that occurred in phenylalanine 82 of cytochrome c that allowed the phenyl side chain to bridge the two cytochrome heme groups.