A Biochemical Nickel(I) State Supports Nucleophilic Alkyl Addition: A Roadmap for Methyl Reactivity in Acetyl Coenzyme A Synthase

Anastasia C. Manesis, Bradley W. Musselman, Brenna C. Keegan, Jason Shearer, Nicolai Lehnert, Hannah S. Shafaat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nickel-containing enzymes such as methyl coenzyme M reductase (MCR) and carbon monoxide dehydrogenase/acetyl coenzyme A synthase (CODH/ACS) play a critical role in global energy conversion reactions, with significant contributions to carbon-centered processes. These enzymes are implied to cycle through a series of nickel-based organometallic intermediates during catalysis, though identification of these intermediates remains challenging. In this work, we have developed and characterized a nickel-containing metalloprotein that models the methyl-bound organometallic intermediates proposed in the native enzymes. Using a nickel(I)-substituted azurin mutant, we demonstrate that alkyl binding occurs via nucleophilic addition of methyl iodide as a methyl donor. The paramagnetic NiIII-CH3 species initially generated can be rapidly reduced to a high-spin NiII-CH3 species in the presence of exogenous reducing agent, following a reaction sequence analogous to that proposed for ACS. These two distinct bioorganometallic species have been characterized by optical, EPR, XAS, and MCD spectroscopy, and the overall mechanism describing methyl reactivity with nickel azurin has been quantitatively modeled using global kinetic simulations. A comparison between the nickel azurin protein system and existing ACS model compounds is presented. NiIII-CH3 Az is only the second example of two-electron addition of methyl iodide to a NiI center to give an isolable species and the first to be formed in a biologically relevant system. These results highlight the divergent reactivity of nickel across the two intermediates, with implications for likely reaction mechanisms and catalytically relevant states in the native ACS enzyme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8969-8982
Number of pages14
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Feb 21 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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