Lanthanide-dependent coordination interactions in lanmodulin: A 2D IR and molecular dynamics simulations study

Stephanie Liu, Emily R. Featherston, Joseph A. Cotruvo, Carlos R. Baiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The biological importance of lanthanides, and the early lanthanides (La3+-Nd3+) in particular, has only recently been recognized, and the structural principles underlying selective binding of lanthanide ions in biology are not yet well established. Lanmodulin (LanM) is a novel protein that displays unprecedented affinity and selectivity for lanthanides over most other metal ions, with an uncommon preference for the early lanthanides. Its utilization of EF-hand motifs to bind lanthanides, rather than the Ca2+ typically recognized by these motifs in other proteins, has led it to be used as a model system to understand selective lanthanide recognition. Two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectroscopy combined with molecular dynamics simulations were used to investigate LanM's selectivity mechanisms by characterizing local binding site geometries upon coordination of early and late lanthanides as well as calcium. These studies focused on the protein's uniquely conserved proline residues in the second position of each EF-hand binding loop. We found that these prolines constrain the EF-hands for strong coordination of early lanthanides. Substitution of this proline results in a more flexible binding site to accommodate a larger range of ions but also results in less compact coordination geometries and greater disorder within the binding site. Finally, we identify the conserved glycine in the sixth position of each EF-hand as a mediator of local binding site conformation and global secondary structure. Uncovering fundamental structure-function relationships in LanM informs the development of synthetic biology technologies targeting lanthanides in industrial applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21690-21700
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number38
StatePublished - Oct 14 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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