European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 237–249 | Cite as

Low temperature X-ray investigation of structural distributions in myoglobin

  • F. Parak
  • H. Hartmann
  • K. D. Aumann
  • H. Reuscher
  • G. Rennekamp
  • H. Bartunik
  • W. Steigemann


The results of X-ray structure analysis of metmyoglobin at 300 K, 185 K, 165 K, 115 K and 80 K are reported. The lattice vectorsa andb decrease linearly with temperature whilec shows non-linearity above 180 K, indicating some type of phase transition. Cooling does change the myoglobin structure but only within the structural distribution as determined by individual 〈x2〉 at room temperature. Two residues showed significant alternative positions for sidechains at higher temperatures while only one position is occupied at low temperatures. In the case of LEU 61 a jump between different positions of the side-chain reduces the potential barrier for the entrance of the O2 molecule to the heme pocket.

The mean square displacements, 〈x2〉, of the individual residues decrease linearly with temperature in most cases, indicating a parabolic envelope for the potential responsible for motions. A separation of rotational and translational disorder of the entire molecule is discussed. Comparison with Mössbauer spectroscopy indicates that protein dynamics on a time scale faster than 10-7 s is not simply a harmonic process. Extrapolation of the structural distributions toT=0 K shows that a large zero point distribution of the myoglobin structure exists, thus proving that there is no absolute energy minimum for one well defined conformation.

Key words

Protein crystallography Debye-Waller factor intramolecular motion oxygen path 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Parak
    • 1
  • H. Hartmann
    • 1
  • K. D. Aumann
    • 1
  • H. Reuscher
    • 1
  • G. Rennekamp
    • 1
  • H. Bartunik
    • 2
  • W. Steigemann
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für Physikalische Chemie der Universität MünsterMünsterFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Max-Planck-InstitutHamburgFederal Republic of Germany
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institut für BiochemieMartinsriedFederal Republic of Germany

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