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Correlating Conformational Equilibria with Catalysis in the Electron Bifurcating EtfABCX of Thermotoga maritima

  • Murray, Daniel T
  • Ge, Xiaoxuan
  • Schut, Gerrit J
  • Rosenberg, Daniel J
  • Hammel, Michal
  • Bierma, Jan C
  • Hille, Russ
  • Adams, Michael WW
  • Hura, Greg L
Publication Date
Jan 02, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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Electron bifurcation (BF) is an evolutionarily ancient energy coupling mechanism in anaerobes, whose associated enzymatic machinery remains enigmatic. In BF-flavoenzymes, a chemically high-potential electron forms in a thermodynamically favorable fashion by simultaneously dropping the potential of a second electron before its donation to physiological acceptors. The cryo-EM and spectroscopic analyses of the BF-enzyme Fix/EtfABCX from Thermotoga maritima suggest that the BF-site contains a special flavin-adenine dinucleotide and, upon its reduction with NADH, a low-potential electron transfers to ferredoxin and a high-potential electron reduces menaquinone. The transfer of energy from high-energy intermediates must be carefully orchestrated conformationally to avoid equilibration. Herein, anaerobic size exclusion-coupled small-angle X-ray scattering (SEC-SAXS) shows that the Fix/EtfAB heterodimer subcomplex, which houses BF- and electron transfer (ET)-flavins, exists in a conformational equilibrium of compacted and extended states between flavin-binding domains, the abundance of which is impacted by reduction and NAD(H) binding. The conformations identify dynamics associated with the T. maritima enzyme and also recapitulate states identified in static structures of homologous BF-flavoenzymes. Reduction of Fix/EtfABCX's flavins alone is insufficient to elicit domain movements conducive to ET but requires a structural "trigger" induced by NAD(H) binding. Models show that Fix/EtfABCX's superdimer exists in a combination of states with respect to its BF-subcomplexes, suggesting a cooperative mechanism between supermonomers for optimizing catalysis. The correlation of conformational states with pathway steps suggests a structural means with which Fix/EtfABCX may progress through its catalytic cycle. Collectively, these observations provide a structural framework for tracing Fix/EtfABCX's catalysis.

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