Long-Time Oxygen Localization in Electron Transfer Flavoprotein
K. Michael Salerno, Janna Domenico, Nam Q. Le, Christopher D. Stiles, Ilia A. Solov'yov, Carlos F. Martino
Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) exert a wide range of biological effects from beneficial regulatoryfunction to deleterious oxidative stress. The electron transfer flavoprotein (ETF) is ubiquitous to life and is associated with aerobic metabolism and ROS production due to its location in the mitochondria. Quantifying oxygen localization within the ETF complex is critical for understanding the potential for electron transfer and radical pair formation between flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) cofactor and superoxide during ROS formation. Our study employed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations and identified several novel, long-lived oxygen binding sites within the ETF complex that appear near the FAD cofactor. Site locations, the local electrostatic environment, and characteristic oxygen binding times for each site were evaluated to establish factors that may lead to possible charge transfer reactions and superoxide formation within the ETF complex. The study revealed that some oxygen binding sites are naturally linked to protein domain features, suggesting opportunities to engineer and control ROS production and subsequent dynamics.