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Cysteine Dioxygenase Structures from pH4 to 9: Consistent Cys-Persulfenate Formation at Intermediate pH and a Cys-Bound Enzyme at Higher pH

Driggers, Camden M., Cooley, Richard B., Sankaran, Banumathi, Hirschberger, Lawrence L., Stipanuk, Martha H., Karplus, P. Andrew
Journal of Molecular Biology 2013 v.425 pp. 3121-3136
X-ray diffraction, crystals, cysteine, mammals, models, oxygen, pH
Mammalian cysteine dioxygenase (CDO) is a mononuclear non-heme iron protein that catalyzes the conversion of cysteine (Cys) to cysteine sulfinic acid by an unclarified mechanism. One structural study revealed that a Cys-persulfenate (or Cys-persulfenic acid) formed in the active site, but quantum mechanical calculations have been used to support arguments that it is not an energetically feasible reaction intermediate. Here, we report a series of high-resolution structures of CDO soaked with Cys at pH values from 4 to 9. Cys binding is minimal at pH≤5 and persulfenate formation is consistently seen at pH values between 5.5 and 7. Also, a structure determined using laboratory-based X-ray diffraction shows that the persulfenate, with an apparent average O–O separation distance of ~1.8Å, is not an artifact of synchrotron radiation. At pH≥8, the active-site iron shifts from 4- to 5-coordinate, and Cys soaks reveal a complex with Cys, but no dioxygen, bound. This ‘Cys-only’ complex differs in detail from a previously published ‘Cys-only’ complex, which we reevaluate and conclude is not reliable. The high-resolution structures presented here do not resolve the CDO mechanism but do imply that an iron-bound persulfenate (or persulfenic acid) is energetically accessible in the CDO active site, and that CDO active-site chemistry in the crystals is influenced by protonation/deprotonation events with effective pKa values near ~5.5 and ~7.5 that influence Cys binding and oxygen binding/reactivity, respectively. Furthermore, this work provides reliable ligand-bound models for guiding future mechanistic considerations.