A pH-Dependent Aquomet-to-Hemichrome Transition in Crystalline Horse MethemoglobinRobinson, V.L., Smith, B.B., Arnone, A.
(2003) Biochemistry 42: 10113-10125
- PubMed: 12939139
- DOI: 10.1021/bi030059t
- Primary Citation of Related Structures:  1NS6
- PubMed Abstract:
- The Structure of Haemoglobin. III. Direct Determination of the Molecular Transform
(1954) Proc.R.Soc.London,Ser.B 225: 264
- An X-Ray Study of Horse Methaemoglobin. I
Boyes-Watson, J.,Davidson, E.,Perutz, M.F.
(1947) Proc.R.Soc.London,Ser.B 191: 83
In 1947, Perutz and co-workers reported that crystalline horse methemoglobin undergoes a large lattice transition as the pH is decreased from 7.1 to 5.4. We have determined the pH 7.1 and 5.4 crystal structures of horse methemoglobin at 1.6 and 2.1 A ...
In 1947, Perutz and co-workers reported that crystalline horse methemoglobin undergoes a large lattice transition as the pH is decreased from 7.1 to 5.4. We have determined the pH 7.1 and 5.4 crystal structures of horse methemoglobin at 1.6 and 2.1 A resolution, respectively, and find that this lattice transition involves a 23 A translation of adjacent hemoglobin tetramers as well as changes in alpha heme ligation and the tertiary structure of the alpha subunits. Specifically, when the pH is lowered from 7.1 to 5.4, the Fe(3+) alpha heme groups (but not the beta heme groups) are converted from the aquomet form, in which the proximal histidine [His87(F8)alpha] and a water molecule are the axial heme ligands, to the hemichrome (bishistidine) form, in which the proximal histidine and the distal histidine [His58(E7)alpha] are the axial heme ligands. Hemichrome formation is coupled to a large tertiary structure transition in the eight-residue segment Pro44(CD2)alpha-Gly51(D7)alpha that converts from an extended loop structure at pH 7.1 to a pi-like helix at pH 5.4. The formation of the pi helix forces Phe46(CD4)alpha out of the alpha heme pocket and into the interface between adjacent hemoglobin tetramers where it participates in crystal lattice contacts unique to the pH 5.4 structure. In addition, the transition from aquomet alpha subunits to bishistidine alpha subunits is accompanied by an approximately 1.2 A movement of the alpha heme groups to a more solvent-exposed position as well as the creation of a solvent channel from the interior of the alpha heme pocket to the outside of the tetramer. These changes and the extensive rearrangement of the crystal lattice structure allow the alpha heme group of one tetramer to make direct contact with an alpha heme group on an adjacent tetramer. These results suggest possible functional roles for hemichrome formation in vivo.
Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.