Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22700962
Link to DOI – 10.1074/jbc.M112.366385
J Biol Chem 2012 Aug; 287(32): 26932-43
The hemophore protein HasA from Serratia marcescens cycles between two states as follows: the heme-bound holoprotein, which functions as a carrier of the metal cofactor toward the membrane receptor HasR, and the heme-free apoprotein fishing for new porphyrin to be taken up after the heme has been delivered to HasR. Holo- and apo-forms differ for the conformation of the two loops L1 and L2, which provide the axial ligands of the iron through His(32) and Tyr(75), respectively. In the apo-form, loop L1 protrudes toward the solvent far away from loop L2; in the holoprotein, closing of the loops on the heme occurs upon establishment of the two axial coordination bonds. We have established that the two variants obtained via single point mutations of either axial ligand (namely H32A and Y75A) are both in the closed conformation. The presence of the heme and one out of two axial ligands is sufficient to establish a link between L1 and L2, thanks to the presence of coordinating solvent molecules. The latter are stabilized in the iron coordination environment by H-bond interactions with surrounding protein residues. The presence of such a water molecule in both variants is revealed here through a set of different spectroscopic techniques. Previous studies had shown that heme release and uptake processes occur via intermediate states characterized by a Tyr(75)-iron-bound form with open conformation of loop L1. Here, we demonstrate that these states do not naturally occur in the free protein but can only be driven by the interaction with the partner proteins.