Tuning the fluorescence of calcium-discharged photoprotein obelin via mutating at the His22-Phe88-Trp92 triad – a QM/MM study†
The fluorescence (FL) of calcium-discharged photoprotein (CaDP) can be altered by easily mutating CaDP without modifying coelenteramide (CLM), which is the decarboxylation product of coelenterazine in calcium-regulated photoprotein. The His22-Phe88-Trp92 triad (the ordering numbers of three amino acids are sorted by a crystal structure (PDB: 2F8P) of calcium-discharged obelin, i.e., CaDP-obelin) is closely related to CaDP-obelin FL, since it exists in close proximity to the 5-p-hydroxyphenyl of CLM. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly investigate how the mutations of this triad affect the emission color of CaDP-obelin FL. In this study, by mutating wild-type CaDP-obelin (WT) at the His22-Phe88-Trp92 triad, we theoretically constructed its nine mutants of separable FL colors. Through combined quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics (QM/MM) calculations and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, the influence of the mutations of this triad on the CaDP-obelin FL was analyzed considering the H-bond effect and the charge effect. This study demonstrated that the mutations at the His22-Phe88-Trp92 triad redistribute the charges on the D–π-A molecule, CLM, change the charge transfer from the D to the (π + A) moiety, and thereby alter the FL emission. Appending more negative charges on the phenolate moiety of CLM benefits the FL redshift.