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Keywords:

  • all-electron density functional calculation • carbonmonoxy myoglobin • distal histidine tautomer • electrostatic potential in heme pocket • size dependence of quantum mechanical region

This article reports the proton tautomerization effects of distal histidine residues in carbonmonoxy myoglobin according to the density functional calculations of the whole protein. The electron eigenstates and electrostatic potential (ESP) distributed around heme and its pocket vary significantly depending on the protonation positions of the distal histidine residues. To investigate the range over which the electronic structures are affected by the proton tautomerization, the quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) method is applied to probe the QM size to reproduce the atomic partial charges and ESP around the active center. Consequently, we show that these properties converged for the 300 pm QM/MM system in this study. During the analysis, we also find that amino residues such as Phe43, Val68, and Phe138 interact strongly with heme through orbital mixing, indicating that the protein is a medium not only interacting with the reaction center, but also buffering on electrons. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.