Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Study of the Molecular and Electronic Structure of the Heme Cavity in Aplysia Cyanometmyoglobin

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The 1H NMR spectrum of the low-spin, cyanide-ligated ferric complex of the myoglobin from the mollusc Aplysia limacina has been investigated. All of the resolved resonances from both the hemin and the proximal histidine have been assigned by a combination of isotope labeling, spin decoupling, analysis of differential paramagnetic relaxation, and nuclear Overhauser (NOE) experiments. The pattern of the heme contact shifts is unprecedented for low-spin ferric hemoproteins in exhibiting minimal rhombic asymmetry. This low in-plane asymmetry is correlated with the X-ray-determined orientation of the proximal histidyl imidazole plane relative to the heme and provides an important test case for the interpretation of hyperfine shifts of low-spin ferric hemoproteins. The bonding of the proximal histidine is shown to be similar to that in sperm whale myoglobin and is largely unperturbed by conformational transitions down to pH ~4. The two observed conformational transitions appear to be linked to the titration of the two heme propionate groups, which are suggested to exist in various orientations as a function of both pH and temperature. Heme orientational disorder in the ratio 5:1 was demonstrated by both isotope labeling and NOE experiments. The exchange rate with bulk water of the proximal histidyl labile ring proton is faster in Aplysia than in sperm whale myoglobin, consistent with a greater tendency for local unfolding of the heme pocket in the former protein. A similar increased heme pocket lability in Aplysia myoglobin has been noted in the rate of heme reorientation [Bellelli, A., Foon, R., Ascoli, F., & Brunori, M. (1987) Biochem. J. 246, 787-789]. © 1989, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.

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