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Spectroscopic and computational investigations of organometallic complexation of group 12 transition metals by methanobactins...

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Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry
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Methanotrophic bacteria catalyze the aerobic oxidation of methane to methanol using Cu-containing enzymes, thereby exerting a modulating influence on the global methane cycle. To facilitate the acquisition of Cu ions, some methanotrophic bacteria secrete small modified peptides known as “methanobactins,” which strongly bind Cu and function as an extracellular Cu recruitment relay, analogous to siderophores and Fe. In addition to Cu, methanobactins form complexes with other late transition metals, including the Group 12 transition metals Zn, Cd, and Hg, although the interplay among solution-phase configurations, metal interactions, and the spectroscopic signatures of methanobactin-metal complexes remains ambiguous. In this study, the complexation of Zn, Cd, and Hg by methanobactin from Methylocystis sp. strain SB2 was studied using a combination of absorbance, fluorescence, extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy, and time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) calculations. We report changes in sample absorbance and fluorescence spectral dynamics, which occur on a wide range of experimental timescales and characterize a clear stoichiometric complexation dependence. Mercury L3-edge EXAFS and TD-DFT calculations suggest a linear model for Hg--S coordination, and TD-DFT suggests a tetrahedral model for Zn2+ and Cd2+. We observed an enhancement in the fluorescence of methanobactin upon interaction with transition metals and propose a mechanism of complexation-hindered isomerization drawing inspiration from the wild-type Green Fluorescent Protein active site. Collectively, our results represent the first combined computational and experimental spectroscopy study of methanobactins and shed new light on molecular interactions and dynamics that characterize complexes of methanobactins with Group 12 transition metals.