, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 120-126

Unequivocal determination of metal atom oxidation state in naked heme proteins: Fe(III)myoglobin, Fe(III)cytochrome c, Fe(III)cytochrome b5, and Fe(III)cytochrome b5 L47R

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Unambiguous determination of metal atom oxidation state in an intact metalloprotein is achieved by matching experimental (electrospray ionization 9.4 tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance) and theoretical isotopic abundance mass distributions for one or more holoprotein charge states. The iron atom oxidation state is determined unequivocally as Fe(III) for each of four gas-phase unhydrated heme proteins electrosprayed from H2O: myoglobin, cytochrome c, cytochrome b5, and cytochrome b5 L47R (i.e., the solution-phase oxidation state is conserved following electrospray to produce gas-phase ions). However, the same Fe(III) oxidation state in all four heme proteins is observed after prior reduction by sodium dithionite to produce Fe(II) heme proteins in solution: thus proving that oxygen was present during the electrospray process. Those results bear directly on the issue of similarity (or lack thereof) of solution-phase and gas-phase protein conformations. Finally, infrared multiphoton irradiation of the gas-phase Fe(III)holoproteins releases Fe(III)heme from each of the noncovalently bound Fe(III)heme proteins (myoglobin, cytochrome b5 and cytochrome b5 L47R), but yields Fe(II)heme from the covalently bound heme in cytochrome c.