BBA - Bioenergetics (v.1857, #5)

The accumulated results of thirty years of rational and computational de novo protein design have taught us important lessons about the stability, information content, and evolution of natural proteins. First, de novo protein design has complicated the assertion that biological function is equivalent to biological structure — demonstrating the capacity to abstract active sites from natural contexts and paste them into non-native topologies without loss of function. The structure–function relationship has thus been revealed to be either a generality or strictly true only in a local sense. Second, the simplification to “maquette” topologies carried out by rational protein design also has demonstrated that even sophisticated functions such as conformational switching, cooperative ligand binding, and light-activated electron transfer can be achieved with low-information design approaches. This is because for simple topologies the functional footprint in sequence space is enormous and easily exceeds the number of structures which could have possibly existed in the history of life on Earth. Finally, the pervasiveness of extraordinary stability in designed proteins challenges accepted models for the “marginal stability” of natural proteins, suggesting that there must be a selection pressure against highly stable proteins. This can be explained using recent theories which relate non-equilibrium thermodynamics and self-replication. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — The design and engineering of electronc transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.

A suite of de novo c-type cytochromes for functional oxidoreductase engineering by Daniel W. Watkins; Craig T. Armstrong; Joseph L. Beesley; Jane E. Marsh; Jonathan M.X. Jenkins; Richard B. Sessions; Stephen Mann; J.L. Ross Anderson (493-502).
Central to the design of an efficient de novo enzyme is a robust yet mutable protein scaffold. The maquette approach to protein design offers precisely this, employing simple four-α-helix bundle scaffolds devoid of evolutionary complexity and with proven tolerance towards iterative protein engineering. We recently described the design of C2, a de novo designed c-type cytochrome maquette that undergoes post-translational modification in E. coli to covalently graft heme onto the protein backbone in vivo. This de novo cytochrome is capable of reversible oxygen binding, an obligate step in the catalytic cycle of many oxygen-activating oxidoreductases. Here we demonstrate the flexibility of both the maquette platform and the post-translational machinery of E. coli by creating a suite of functional de novo designed c-type cytochromes. We explore the engineering tolerances of the maquette by selecting alternative binding sites for heme C attachment and creating di-heme maquettes either by appending an additional heme C binding motif to the maquette scaffold or by binding heme B through simple bis-histidine ligation to a second binding site. The new designs retain the essential properties of the parent design but with significant improvements in structural stability. Molecular dynamics simulations aid the rationalization of these functional improvements while providing insight into the rules for engineering heme C binding sites in future iterations. This versatile, functional suite of de novo c-type cytochromes shows significant promise in providing robust platforms for the future engineering of de novo oxygen-activating oxidoreductases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics—the design and engineering of electron transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Maquette; Heme C; Cytochrome c; Protein design; Four-helix bundle; Oxygen binding; Oxygen activation; E. coli cytochrome c biogenesis system I; Enzyme design;

First principles design of a core bioenergetic transmembrane electron-transfer protein by Geetha Goparaju; Bryan A. Fry; Sarah E. Chobot; Gregory Wiedman; Christopher C. Moser; P. Leslie Dutton; Bohdana M. Discher (503-512).
Here we describe the design, Escherichia coli expression and characterization of a simplified, adaptable and functionally transparent single chain 4-α-helix transmembrane protein frame that binds multiple heme and light activatable porphyrins. Such man-made cofactor-binding oxidoreductases, designed from first principles with minimal reference to natural protein sequences, are known as maquettes. This design is an adaptable frame aiming to uncover core engineering principles governing bioenergetic transmembrane electron-transfer function and recapitulate protein archetypes proposed to represent the origins of photosynthesis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Man-made redox proteins; Maquettes; Protein design; Transmembrane proteins; Oxidoreductase; Light-activation; Intraprotein electron transfer; Photosynthesis; Respiration; Evolution;

Design and engineering of a man-made diffusive electron-transport protein by Bryan A. Fry; Lee A. Solomon; P. Leslie Dutton; Christopher C. Moser (513-521).
Maquettes are man-made cofactor-binding oxidoreductases designed from first principles with minimal reference to natural protein sequences. Here we focus on water-soluble maquettes designed and engineered to perform diffusive electron transport of the kind typically carried out by cytochromes, ferredoxins and flavodoxins and other small proteins in photosynthetic and respiratory energy conversion and oxido-reductive metabolism. Our designs were tested by analysis of electron transfer between heme maquettes and the well-known natural electron transporter, cytochrome c. Electron-transfer kinetics were measured from seconds to milliseconds by stopped-flow, while sub-millisecond resolution was achieved through laser photolysis of the carbon monoxide maquette heme complex. These measurements demonstrate electron transfer from the maquette to cytochrome c, reproducing the timescales and charge complementarity modulation observed in natural systems. The ionic strength dependence of inter-protein electron transfer from 9.7 × 106  M− 1s− 1 to 1.2 × 109  M− 1s− 1 follows a simple Debye–Hückel model for attraction between + 8 net charged oxidized cytochrome c and − 19 net charged heme maquette, with no indication of significant protein dipole moment steering. Successfully recreating essential components of energy conversion and downstream metabolism in man-made proteins holds promise for in vivo clinical intervention and for the production of fuel or other industrial products. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Man-made redox proteins; Maquettes; Protein design; Cytochrome c; Inter-protein electron transfer; Electron-transfer kinetics; Charge complementarity; Electrostatics; Diffusion;

Electron transfer activity of a de novo designed copper center in a three-helix bundle fold by Jefferson S. Plegaria; Christian Herrero; Annamaria Quaranta; Vincent L. Pecoraro (522-530).
In this work, we characterized the intermolecular electron transfer (ET) properties of a de novo designed metallopeptide using laser-flash photolysis. α3D-CH3 is three helix bundle peptide that was designed to contain a copper ET site that is found in the β-barrel fold of native cupredoxins. The ET activity of Cuα3D–CH3 was determined using five different photosensitizers. By exhibiting a complete depletion of the photo-oxidant and the successive formation of a Cu(II) species at 400 nm, the transient and generated spectra demonstrated an ET transfer reaction between the photo-oxidant and Cu(I)α3D-CH3. This observation illustrated our success in integrating an ET center within a de novo designed scaffold. From the kinetic traces at 400 nm, first-order and bimolecular rate constants of 105  s− 1 and 108  M− 1  s− 1 were derived. Moreover, a Marcus equation analysis on the rate versus driving force study produced a reorganization energy of 1.1 eV, demonstrating that the helical fold of α3D requires further structural optimization to efficiently perform ET. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: De novo design; Cupredoxin; Three-helix bundle; Photoinduced electron transfer; Laser-flash photolysis;

Structural principles for computational and de novo design of 4Fe–4S metalloproteins by Vikas Nanda; Stefan Senn; Douglas H. Pike; Agustina Rodriguez-Granillo; Will A. Hansen; Sagar D. Khare; Dror Noy (531-538).
Iron-sulfur centers in metalloproteins can access multiple oxidation states over a broad range of potentials, allowing them to participate in a variety of electron transfer reactions and serving as catalysts for high-energy redox processes. The nitrogenase FeMoCO cluster converts di-nitrogen to ammonia in an eight-electron transfer step. The 2(Fe4S4) containing bacterial ferredoxin is an evolutionarily ancient metalloprotein fold and is thought to be a primordial progenitor of extant oxidoreductases. Controlling chemical transformations mediated by iron-sulfur centers such as nitrogen fixation, hydrogen production as well as electron transfer reactions involved in photosynthesis are of tremendous importance for sustainable chemistry and energy production initiatives. As such, there is significant interest in the design of iron-sulfur proteins as minimal models to gain fundamental understanding of complex natural systems and as lead-molecules for industrial and energy applications. Herein, we discuss salient structural characteristics of natural iron-sulfur proteins and how they guide principles for design. Model structures of past designs are analyzed in the context of these principles and potential directions for enhanced designs are presented, and new areas of iron-sulfur protein design are proposed. This article is part of a Special issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L Ross Anderson.Display Omitted
Keywords: Iron-sulfur; Metalloprotein; Protein design; Oxidoreductase; Symmetry;

Design of dinuclear manganese cofactors for bacterial reaction centers by Tien L. Olson; Eduardo Espiritu; Selvakumar Edwardraja; Chad R. Simmons; JoAnn C. Williams; Giovanna Ghirlanda; James P. Allen (539-547).
A compelling target for the design of electron transfer proteins with novel cofactors is to create a model for the oxygen-evolving complex, a Mn4Ca cluster, of photosystem II. A mononuclear Mn cofactor can be added to the bacterial reaction center, but the addition of multiple metal centers is constrained by the native protein architecture. Alternatively, metal centers can be incorporated into artificial proteins. Designs for the addition of dinuclear metal centers to four-helix bundles resulted in three artificial proteins with ligands for one, two, or three dinuclear metal centers able to bind Mn. The three-dimensional structure determined by X-ray crystallography of one of the Mn-proteins confirmed the design features and revealed details concerning coordination of the Mn center. Electron transfer between these artificial Mn-proteins and bacterial reaction centers was investigated using optical spectroscopy. After formation of a light-induced, charge-separated state, the experiments showed that the Mn-proteins can donate an electron to the oxidized bacteriochlorophyll dimer of modified reaction centers, with the Mn-proteins having additional metal centers being more effective at this electron transfer reaction. Modeling of the structure of the Mn-protein docked to the reaction center showed that the artificial protein likely binds on the periplasmic surface similarly to cytochrome c 2, the natural secondary donor. Combining reaction centers with exogenous artificial proteins provides the opportunity to create ligands and investigate the influence of inhomogeneous protein environments on multinuclear redox-active metal centers. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.Display Omitted
Keywords: Photosynthesis; Mn-binding proteins; De novo protein design; Photosystem II; Four-helix bundles; Electron transfer;

Site-directed spin labeling electron paramagnetic resonance (SDSL EPR) spectroscopy is a powerful tool to determine solvent accessibility, side-chain dynamics, and inter-spin distances at specific sites in biological macromolecules. This information provides important insights into the structure and dynamics of both natural and designed proteins and protein complexes. Here, we discuss the application of SDSL EPR spectroscopy in probing the charge-transfer cofactors in photosynthetic reaction centers (RC) such as photosystem I (PSI) and the bacterial reaction center (bRC). Photosynthetic RCs are large multi-subunit proteins (molecular weight ≥ 300 kDa) that perform light-driven charge transfer reactions in photosynthesis. These reactions are carried out by cofactors that are paramagnetic in one of their oxidation states. This renders the RCs unsuitable for conventional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy investigations. However, the presence of native paramagnetic centers and the ability to covalently attach site-directed spin labels in RCs makes them ideally suited for the application of SDSL EPR spectroscopy. The paramagnetic centers serve as probes of conformational changes, dynamics of subunit assembly, and the relative motion of cofactors and peptide subunits. In this review, we describe novel applications of SDSL EPR spectroscopy for elucidating the effects of local structure and dynamics on the electron-transfer cofactors of photosynthetic RCs. Because SDSL EPR Spectroscopy is uniquely suited to provide dynamic information on protein motion, it is a particularly useful method in the engineering and analysis of designed electron transfer proteins and protein networks. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Site-directed spin labeling; EPR spectroscopy; Photosystem I; Photosystem II; Bacterial reaction center;

Redox potentials are a major contributor in controlling the electron transfer (ET) rates and thus regulating the ET processes in the bioenergetics. To maximize the efficiency of the ET process, one needs to master the art of tuning the redox potential, especially in metalloproteins, as they represent major classes of ET proteins. In this review, we first describe the importance of tuning the redox potential of ET centers and its role in regulating the ET in bioenergetic processes including photosynthesis and respiration. The main focus of this review is to summarize recent work in designing the ET centers, namely cupredoxins, cytochromes, and iron–sulfur proteins, and examples in design of protein networks involved these ET centers. We then discuss the factors that affect redox potentials of these ET centers including metal ion, the ligands to metal center and interactions beyond the primary ligand, especially non-covalent secondary coordination sphere interactions. We provide examples of strategies to fine-tune the redox potential using both natural and unnatural amino acids and native and nonnative cofactors. Several case studies are used to illustrate recent successes in this area. Outlooks for future endeavors are also provided. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Cupredoxin; Cytochromes; Iron–sulfur proteins; Metalloenzymes; Secondary coordination sphere; Non-covalent interactions;

Utility of heme analogues to intentionally modify heme–globin interactions in myoglobin by Saburo Neya; Masako Nagai; Shigenori Nagatomo; Tyuji Hoshino; Tomoki Yoneda; Akira T. Kawaguchi (582-588).
Myoglobin reconstitution with various synthetic heme analogues was reviewed to follow the consequences of modified heme–globin interactions. Utility of dimethyl sulfoxide as the solvent for water-insoluble hemes was emphasized.Proton NMR spectroscopy revealed that loose heme–globin contacts in the heme pocket eventually caused the dynamic heme rotation around the iron–histidine bond. The full rotational rate was estimated to be about 1400 s− 1 at room temperature for 1,4,5,8-tetramethylhemin. The X-ray analysis of the myoglobin containing iron porphine, the smallest heme without any side chains, showed that the original globin fold was well conserved despite the serious disruption of native heme–globin contacts. Comparison between the two myoglobins with static and rotatory prosthetic groups indicated that the oxygen and carbon monoxide binding profiles were almost unaffected by the heme motion. On the other hand, altered tetrapyrrole array of porphyrin dramatically changed the dissociation constant of oxygen from 0.0005 mm Hg of porphycene-myoglobin to ∞ in oxypyriporphyrin-myoglobin.Heme–globin interactions in myoglobin were also monitored with circular dichroism spectroscopy. The observation on several reconstituted protein revealed an unrecognized role of the propionate groups in protoheme. Shortening of heme 6,7-propionates to carboxylates resulted in almost complete disappearance of the positive circular dichroism band in the Soret region. The theoretical analysis suggested that the disappeared circular dichroism band reflected the cancellation effects between different conformers of the carboxyl groups directly attached to heme periphery. The above techniques were proposed to be applicable to other hemoproteins to create new biocatalysts. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics – the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Artificial hemes; Circular dichroism; Dimethyl sulfoxide procedure; Heme–globin interactions; Reconstituted myoglobin;

The unique photochemical properties of Ru(II)-diimine complexes have helped initiate a series of seminal electron transfer studies in metalloenzymes. It has thus been possible to experimentally determine rate constants for long-range electron transfers. These studies have laid the foundation for the investigation of reactive intermediates in heme proteins and for the design of light-activated biocatalysts. Various metalloenzymes such as hydrogenase, carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, nitrogenase, laccase and cytochrome P450 BM3 have been functionalized with Ru(II)-diimine complexes. Upon visible light-excitation, these photosensitized metalloproteins are capable of sustaining photocatalytic activity to reduce small molecules such as protons, acetylene, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide or activate molecular dioxygen to produce hydroxylated products. The Ru(II)-diimine photosensitizers are hence able to deliver multiple electrons to metalloenzymes buried active sites, circumventing the need for the natural redox partners. In this review, we will highlight the key achievements of the light-driven biocatalysts, which stem from the extensive electron transfer investigations. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Ruthenium photosensitizers; Light-driven biocatalysis; Electron transfer studies;

Reengineering cyt b 562 for hydrogen production: A facile route to artificial hydrogenases by Dayn Joseph Sommer; Michael David Vaughn; Brett Colby Clark; John Tomlin; Anindya Roy; Giovanna Ghirlanda (598-603).
Bioinspired, protein-based molecular catalysts utilizing base metals at the active are emerging as a promising avenue to sustainable hydrogen production. The protein matrix modulates the intrinsic reactivity of organometallic active sites by tuning second-sphere and long-range interactions. Here, we show that swapping Co-Protoporphyrin IX for Fe-Protoporphyrin IX in cytochrome b 562 results in an efficient catalyst for photoinduced proton reduction to molecular hydrogen. Further, the activity of wild type Co-cyt b 562 can be modulated by a factor of 2.5 by exchanging the coordinating methionine with alanine or aspartic acid. The observed turnover numbers (TON) range between 125 and 305, and correlate well with the redox potential of the Co-cyt b 562 mutants. The photosensitized system catalyzes proton reduction with high efficiency even under an aerobic atmosphere, implicating its use for biotechnological applications. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.Display Omitted
Keywords: Protein engineering; Fuel production; Cobalt catalysts; Redox chemistry;

The reducing power released from photosystem I (PSI) via ferredoxin enables the reduction of NADP+ to NADPH, which is essential in the Calvin–Benson cycle to make sugars in photosynthesis. Alternatively, PSI can reduce O2 to produce hydrogen peroxide as a fuel. This article describes the artificial version of the photocatalytic production of hydrogen peroxide from water and O2 using solar energy. Hydrogen peroxide is used as a fuel in hydrogen peroxide fuel cells to make electricity. The combination of the photocatalytic H2O2 production from water and O2 using solar energy with one-compartment H2O2 fuel cells provides on-site production and usage of H2O2 as a more useful and promising solar fuel than hydrogen. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — The design and engineering of electronc transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Artificial photosynthesis; Solar fuel; Hydrogen peroxide; Fuel cells;

Functional interfaces for biomimetic energy harvesting: CNTs-DNA matrix for enzyme assembly by Rachel M.E. Hjelm; Kristen E. Garcia; Sofia Babanova; Kateryna Artyushkova; Ivana Matanovic; Scott Banta; Plamen Atanassov (612-620).
The development of 3D structures exploring the properties of nano-materials and biological molecules has been shown through the years as an effective path forward for the design of advanced bio-nano architectures for enzymatic fuel cells, photo-bio energy harvesting devices, nano-biosensors and bio-actuators and other bio-nano-interfacial architectures. In this study we demonstrate a scaffold design utilizing carbon nanotubes, deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) and a specific DNA binding transcription factor that allows for directed immobilization of a single enzyme.Functionalized carbon nanotubes were covalently bonded to a diazonium salt modified gold surface through carbodiimide chemistry creating a brush-type nanotube alignment. The aligned nanotubes created a highly ordered structure with high surface area that allowed for the attachment of a protein assembly through a designed DNA scaffold. The enzyme immobilization was controlled by a zinc finger (ZNF) protein domain that binds to a specific dsDNA sequence. ZNF 268 was genetically fused to the small laccase (SLAC) from Streptomyces coelicolor, an enzyme belonging to the family of multi-copper oxidases, and used to demonstrate the applicability of the developed approach. Analytical techniques such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and enzymatic activity analysis, allowed characterization at each stage of development of the bio-nano architecture. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Biomimetic; Enzymatic fuel cell; Enzymatic cascade; DNA-CNT matrix; Small laccase; Zinc finger;

Anodic bioelectrodes for biofuel cells are more complex than cathodic bioelectrodes for biofuel cells, because laccase and bilirubin oxidase can individually catalyze four electron reduction of oxygen to water, whereas most anodic enzymes only do a single two electron oxidation of a complex fuel (i.e. glucose oxidase oxidizing glucose to gluconolactone while generating 2 electrons of the total 24 electrons), so enzyme cascades are typically needed for complete oxidation of the fuel. This review article will discuss the lessons learned from natural metabolic pathways about multi-step oxidation and how those lessons have been applied to minimal or artificial enzyme cascades. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biodesign for Bioenergetics — the design and engineering of electronic transfer cofactors, proteins and protein networks, edited by Ronald L. Koder and J.L. Ross Anderson.
Keywords: Metabolic pathway; Bioelectrocatalysis; Metabolon; Enzyme cascade; Biofuel cell;