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Solvent Tuning of Electrochemical Potentials in the Active Sites of HiPIP Versus Ferredoxin

Science  30 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5855, pp. 1464-1468
DOI: 10.1126/science.1147753

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Abstract

A persistent puzzle in the field of biological electron transfer is the conserved iron-sulfur cluster motif in both high potential iron-sulfur protein (HiPIP) and ferredoxin (Fd) active sites. Despite this structural similarity, HiPIPs react oxidatively at physiological potentials, whereas Fds are reduced. Sulfur K-edge x-ray absorption spectroscopy uncovers the substantial influence of hydration on this variation in reactivity. Fe-S covalency is much lower in natively hydrated Fd active sites than in HiPIPs but increases upon water removal; similarly, HiPIP covalency decreases when unfolding exposes an otherwise hydrophobically shielded active site to water. Studies on model compounds and accompanying density functional theory calculations support a correlation of Fe-S covalency with ease of oxidation and therefore suggest that hydration accounts for most of the difference between Fd and HiPIP reduction potentials.

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