Dynamics of carbon monoxide binding to protoheme

N. Alberding, R. H. Austin, Shirley S. Chan, L. Eisenstein, H. Frauenfelder, I. C. Gunsalus, T. M. Nordlund

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Protoheme rebinding of carbon monoxide after photodissociation has been observed at temperatures from 5 to 340 K for times from 2 μs to 1 ks. Below 80 K, binding is nonexporiential in time and CO-concentration independent, above 230 K exponential and the rate is CO-concentration proportional. A model is proposed in which the carbon monoxide, moving from the solvent to the binding site at the ferrous heme iron, encounters two successive barriers. The outer is formed by the solvent, the inner is a property of the heme and probably connected to the motion of the iron from the spin-2 deoxy to the spin-0 carbon monoxide state. The temperature dependence of the two processes yields all activation enthalpies and entropies for the two barriers. The nonexponential rebinding observed at low temperatures implies that the inner barrier possesses distributed activation enthalpy and entropy. The enthalpy spectrum and the entropy spread are determined. The spectrum demonstrates that heme exists in many different conformational states. At low temperatures, these states are frozen; above about 230 K, rapid conformational relaxation renders rebinding exponential. Below 15 K, quantum-mechanical molecular tunneling dominates. The tunneling rate yields the width of the innermost barrier. Earlier experiments on carbon monoxide binding to myoglobin had provided evidence for four barriers. The present results imply that the innermost barrier in myoglobin is caused by the heme, the outermost by the solvent, and the two intermediate ones by the globin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4701-4711
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of chemical physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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