4-nitroimidazole binding to horse metmyoglobin: evidence for preferential anion binding.

Research paper by K C KC Taylor, L B LB Vitello, J E JE Erman

Indexed on: 09 Nov '00Published on: 09 Nov '00Published in: Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics


The ionization of 4-nitroimidazole to 4-nitroimidazolate was investigated as a function of ionic strength. The apparent pKa varies from 8.99 to 9.50 between 0.001 and 1.0 M ionic strength, respectively, at 25 degrees C. The ionic strength dependence of this ionization is anomalous. The binding of 4-nitroimidazole by horse metmyoglobin was studied between pH 5.0 and 11.5 and as a function of ionic strength between 0.01 and 1.0 M. The association rate constant is pH-dependent, varying from 24 M(-1)s(-1) at pH 5 to a maximum value of 280 M(-1)s(-1) at pH 9.5 and then decreasing to 10 M(-1)s(-1) at pH 11.5 in 0.1 M ionic strength buffers. The dissociation rate constant has a much smaller pH dependence, varying from 0.082 s(-1) at low pH to 0.035 s(-1) at high pH, with an apparent pKa of 6.5. The binding affinity of 4-nitroimidazole to horse metmyoglobin is about 2.5 orders of magnitude stronger than that for imidazole and this increased affinity is attributed to the much slower dissociation rate for 4-nitroimidazole compared to that of imidazole. Although the ionic strength dependence of the binding rate is small and secondary kinetic salt effects can account for the ionic strength dependence of the association rate constant, the pH dependence of the rate constants and microscopic reversibility arguments indicate that the anionic form of the ligand binds more rapidly to all forms of metmyoglobin than does the neutral form of the ligand. However, the spectrum of the complex is similar to model complexes involving neutral imidazole and not imidazolate. The latter observation suggests that the initial metmyoglobin/4-nitroimidazolate complex rapidly binds a proton and the neutral form of the bound ligand is stabilized, probably through hydrogen binding with the distal histidine.