Domain-swapped cytochrome cb562 dimer and its nanocage encapsulating a Zn–SO4 cluster in the internal cavity†
Protein nanostructures have been gaining in interest, along with developments in new methods for construction of novel nanostructures. We have previously shown that c-type cytochromes and myoglobin form oligomers by domain swapping. Herein, we show that a four-helix bundle protein cyt cb562, with the cyt b562 heme attached to the protein moiety by two Cys residues insertion, forms a domain-swapped dimer. Dimeric cyt cb562 did not dissociate to monomers at 4 °C, whereas dimeric cyt b562 dissociated under the same conditions, showing that heme attachment to the protein moiety stabilizes the domain-swapped structure. According to X-ray crystallographic analysis of dimeric cyt cb562, the two helices in the N-terminal region of one protomer interacted with the other two helices in the C-terminal region of the other protomer, where Lys51–Asp54 served as a hinge loop. The heme coordination structure of the dimer was similar to that of the monomer. In the crystal, three domain-swapped cyt cb562 dimers formed a unique cage structure with a Zn–SO4 cluster inside the cavity. The Zn–SO4 cluster consisted of fifteen Zn2+ and seven SO42− ions, whereas six additional Zn2+ ions were detected inside the cavity. The cage structure was stabilized by coordination of the amino acid side chains of the dimers to the Zn2+ ions and connection of two four-helix bundle units through the conformation-adjustable hinge loop. These results show that domain swapping can be applied in the construction of unique protein nanostructures.