Extensive conformational sampling in a ternary electron transfer complex

David Leys, Jaswir Basran, François Talfournier, Michael J. Sutcliffe, Nigel S. Scrutton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Here we report the crystal structures of a ternary electron transfer complex showing extensive motion at the protein interface. This physiological complex comprises the iron-sulfur flavoprotein trimethylamine dehydrogenase and electron transferring flavoprotein (ETF) from Methylophilus methylotrophus. In addition, we report the crystal structure of free ETF. In the complex, electron density for the FAD domain of ETF is absent, indicating high mobility. Positions for the FAD domain are revealed by molecular dynamics simulation, consistent with crystal structures and kinetic data. A dual interaction of ETF with trimethylamine dehydrogenase provides for dynamical motion at the protein interface: one site acts as an anchor, thereby allowing the other site to sample a large range of interactions, some compatible with rapid electron transfer. This study establishes the role of conformational sampling in multi-domain redox systems, providing insight into electron transfer between ETFs and structurally distinct redox partners.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-225
    Number of pages6
    JournalNature Structural Biology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003


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