Structural Insights for Vanadium Catecholates and Iron‑sulfur Clusters Obtained from Multiple Data Analysis Methods Applied to Electron Spin Relaxation Data

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Iron‑sulfur clusters, Hydrogenase maturase, Mycofactocin maturase, Distribution of exponentials, Pyruvate formate lyase activating enzyme, Vanadium(IV) catecholate

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College of Natual Science and Mathematics, Chemistry and Biochemistry


Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) inversion recovery curves for vanadium catecholates and iron‑sulfur clusters were analyzed with three models: the sum of two exponentials, a stretched exponential, and a model-free distribution of exponentials (UPEN). For all data sets studied fits with a stretched exponential were statistically indistinguishable from the sum of two exponentials, and were significantly better than for single exponentials. UPEN provides insights into the structures of the distributions. For a vanadium(IV) tris catecholate the distribution of relaxation rates calculated with UPEN shows the contribution from spectral diffusion at low temperatures. The energy of the local mode for this complex, found from the temperature dependence of the spin lattice relaxation, is consistent with values expected for a metal-ligand vibration. For the [2Fe-2S]+ cluster in pyruvate formate lyase activating enzyme (PFL-AE) the small stretched exponential β values (0.3) at low temperature and the distributions calculated with UPEN reflect the contribution from a second rapidly relaxing species that could be difficult to detect by continuous wave EPR. The distributions in 1/T1 for the [4Fe-4S]+ clusters in Mycofactocin maturase were about a factor of four wider than for the three other systems studied. The very broad distribution of relaxation rates may be due to protein mobility and distributions in electronic energies and local environments for the clusters. UPEN provides insight into several situations that can result in low values of stretch parameter β including contributions from spectral diffusion, overlapping signals from distinguishable clusters, or very wide distributions.

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