Spectroscopic and computational investigation of second-sphere contributions to redox tuning in Escherichia coli iron superoxide dismutase

Laurie E. Grove, Juan Xie, Emine Yikilmaz, Anne Frances Miller, Thomas C. Brunold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


In Fe- and Mn-dependent superoxide dismutases (SODs), second-sphere residues have been implicated in precisely tuning the metal ion reduction potential to maximize catalytic activity (Vance, C. K.; Miller, A.-F. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1998, 120, 461-467). In the present study, spectroscopic and computational methods were used to characterize three distinct Fe-bound SOD species that possess different second-coordination spheres and, consequently, Fe3+/2+ reduction potentials that vary by ∼1 V, namely, FeSOD, Fe-substituted MnSOD (Fe(Mn)SOD), and the Q69E FeSOD mutant. Despite having markedly different metal ion reduction potentials, FeSOD, Fe(Mn)SOD, and Q69E FeSOD exhibit virtually identical electronic absorption, circular dichroism, and magnetic circular dichroism (MCD) spectra in both their oxidized and reduced states. Likewise, variable-temperature, variable-field MCD data obtained for the oxidized and reduced species do not reveal any significant electronic, and thus geometric, variations within the Fe ligand environment. To gain insight into the mechanism of metal ion redox tuning, complete enzyme models for the oxidized and reduced states of all three Fe-bound SOD species were generated using combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) geometry optimizations. Consistent with our spectroscopic data, density functional theory computations performed on the corresponding active-site models predict that the three SOD species share similar active-site electronic structures in both their oxidized and reduced states. By using the QM/MM-optimized active-site models in conjunction with the conductor-like screening model to calculate the proton-coupled Fe3+/2+ reduction potentials, we found that different hydrogen-bonding interactions with the conserved second-sphere Gln (changed to Glu in Q69E FeSOD) greatly perturb the pK of the Fe-bound solvent ligand and, thus, drastically affect the proton-coupled metal ion reduction potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3978-3992
Number of pages15
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 19 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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