Horseradish peroxidase C binds a wide variety of small H-donor compounds such as benzohydroxamic acid (BHA) and 2-naphthohydroxamic acid (NHA). In this work, we use the Mg(II)-mesoporphyrin prosthetic group derivative as a spectroscopic probe of the active site and of the interaction with the substrates. We report on high-resolution fluorescence line-narrowed spectra which show that the effects of substrate binding on the electronic transitions are similar for both substrates and present data on the normal vibrational modes that are active in the vibronic spectra. Analysis of the vibrational frequencies shows that the Mg(II) ion is 5-coordinate in all cases, thus ruling out a solvent water as sixth ligand. The frequency shifts observed as a result of substrate binding are also indicative of a more rigid prosthetic group upon substrate binding. We present models for MgMP-HRP and its complexes with both substrates and compare the resulting structures on the basis of a modeling approach combining energy minimization to finite difference Poisson-Boltzmann calculations which partitions the various relative protein contributions to substrate binding. We show that the electrostatic potential of the prosthetic group is modified by the binding event. Analysis of the unbound and bound energy-minimized structures shows that the enzyme modulates substrate binding by subtle charge reorganization in the vicinity of the catalytic site and that this rearrangement is not attributable to significant secondary structure conformational changes but to side-chain reorganization.
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