Mechanisms by which salt concentration moderates the dynamics of human serum transferrin
Abdizadeh, Haleh and Atılgan, Ali Rana and Atılgan, Canan (2017) Mechanisms by which salt concentration moderates the dynamics of human serum transferrin. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 121 (18). pp. 4778-4789. ISSN 1520-6106 (Print) 1520-5207 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b02380
The dynamical and thermodynamic behavior of human transferrin (hTf) protein in saline aqueous solution of various concentrations is studied. hTf is an essential transport protein circulating iron in the blood and delivering it to tissues. It displays highly pH dependent cooperativity between the two lobes, each carrying an iron, and forms a tight complex with the receptor during endocytosis, eventually recycled to the serum after iron release. Molecular dynamics simulations are used to investigate the effects of the amount of salt on protein conformation and dynamics to analyze the structure-function relationship in free hTf at serum pH. To monitor the ionic strength dependence, four different ionic concentrations, 0, 50, 130, and 210 mM NaCl for two protonation states of the iron coordination site is considered. Two mechanisms by which salt affects hTf are disclosed. In the totally closed state where iron coordinating tyrosines are deprotonated, the addition of even 50 mM of salt alters the electrostatic potential distribution around the protein; opening energetic pathways for tyrosine protonation from nearby charged residues as a required first step for iron release. Once domain opening is observed, conformational plasticity renders the iron binding site more accessible by the solvent. At this second stage of iron release, R124 in the N-lobe is identified as kinetically significant anion binding site that accommodates chloride ions and: allosterically communicates with the iron binding residues. Opening motions are maximized at 150 mM IS in the N-lobe, and at 210 mM in the C-lobe. The extra mobility in the latter is thought to preclude binding of hTf to its receptor. Thus, the physiological IS is Optimal for exposing iron for release from hTf. However, the calculated binding affinities of iron show that even in the most open conforinations, iron dissociation needs to be accompanied by chelators.
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