Probing hemoglobin confinement inside submicron silica tubes using synchrotron SAXS and electrochemical response
The equilibrium complexity involving different axially coordinated hemes is peculiar to hemoglobins. The pH dependence of the spontaneous exchange of ligands in the extracellular hemoglobin from Glossoscolex paulistus was studied using UV-Vis, EPR, and CD spectroscopies. This protein has a complex oligomeric assembly with molecular weight of 3.1 MDa that presents an important cooperative effect. A complex coexistence of different species was observed in almost all pH values, except pH 7.0, where just aquomet species is present. Four new species were formed and coexist with the aquomethemoglobin upon acidification: (i) a "pure" low-spin hemichrome (Type II), also called hemichrome B, with an usual spin state (d(xy))(2)(d(xz),d(yz))(3); (ii) a strong g(max) hemichrome (Type I), also showing an usual spin state (d(xy))(2)(d(xz),d(yz))(3); (iii) a hemichrome with unusual spin state (d(xz),d(yz))(4)(d(xy))(1) (Type III); (iv) and a high-spin pentacoordinate species. CD measurements suggest that the mechanism of species formation could be related with an initial process of acid denaturation. However, it is worth mentioning that based on EPR the aquomet species remains even at acidic pH, indicating that the transitions are not complete. The "pure" low-spin hemichrome presents a parallel orientation of the imidazole ring planes but the strong g(max) hemichrome is a HALS (highly anisotropic low-spin) species indicating a reciprocally perpendicular orientation of the imidazole ring planes. The hemichromes and pentacoordinate formation mechanisms are discussed in detail.