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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Allosteric Regulation of Axial/Rhombic Population in a “Type 1” Copper Site: Multi-Edge X-ray Absorption Spectroscopic and Density Functional Studies of Pseudoazurin


The co-existence of "axial" and "rhombic" coordination environments has been demonstrated in a "Type 1" copper site of Pseudoazurin. This observation opens up previously not considered interpretations for the relationship between geometry and electronic structure of the four coordinate copper site. The Met16 variants of pseudoazurin were considered as model systems for investigating the effect of weak interactions from the second coordination sphere. The correlation between geometric and electronic structures of "Type 1" copper site was evaluated by the multi-edge (Cu K-edge and S K-edge) X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) of Met16 variants of pseudoazurin. The co-existing axial and rhombic sites in pseudoazurin were characterized by Culigand distances, effective nuclear charge, and Cu-S( Cys) covalency from XAS. The XAS results were correlated with DFT calculations for investigating the effect of protein environment from the inner-sphere and beyond around the Cu site. The combined experimental and theoretical results support the presence of a close correlation between outer sphere environment and inner sphere coordination environment. This is achieved in pseudoazurin by a previously undisclosed allosteric effect that involves a rearrangement of the protein tertiary structure.

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