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Spectroscopic Properties of Tyrosyl Radicals in Dipeptides

Spectroscopic Properties of Tyrosyl Radicals in Dipeptides

Journal of the American Chemical Society vol. 124  p. 5496-5505  DOI: 10.1021/ja0164327
PMID/PMCID: 11996592 Published: 2002-05-15 

Idelisa Ayala
Kevin Range
Darrin M. York
Bridgette A. Barry


Redox-active tyrosine residues play important roles in long-distance electron reactions in enzymes, including prostaglandin H synthase, galactose oxidase, ribonucleotide reductase, and photosystem II. Magnetic resonance and vibrational spectroscopy provide methods with which to study the structures of redox-active amino acids in proteins. In this report, ultraviolet photolysis was used to generate tyrosyl radicals from polycrystalline tyrosinate or dipeptides, and the structure of the radical was investigated with EPR and reaction-induced FT-IR spectroscopy at 77 K. Photolysis at 77 K is expected to generate a neutral tyrosyl radical through oxidation of the aromatic ring. EPR and FT-IR results obtained from 13C-labeled tyrosine were consistent with that expectation. Surprisingly, labeling of the tyrosyl amino group with 15N also resulted in isotope-shifted bands in the photolysis spectrum. The force constant of a NH deformation mode increased when the tyrosyl radical was generated. These data suggest an interaction between the pi system of the tyrosyl radical and the amino group. In spectra acquired from the dipeptides, evidence for a sequence-dependent interaction between the tyrosyl radical and the amide bond of the dipeptide was also obtained. We postulate that perturbation of the amino or the amide/imide groups may occur through a spin polarization mechanism, which is indirectly detected as a change in NH force constant. This conclusion is supported by density functional calculations, which suggest a conformationally sensitive delocalization of spin density onto the amino and carboxylate groups of the tyrosyl radical. These experiments provide a step toward a detailed spectral interpretation for protein-based tyrosyl radicals.