Probing Lanmodulin's Lanthanide Recognition via Sensitized Luminescence Yields a Platform for Quantification of Terbium in Acid Mine Drainage

Emily R. Featherston, Edward J. Issertell, Joseph A. Cotruvo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lanmodulin is the first natural, selective macrochelator for f elements - a protein that binds lanthanides with picomolar affinity at 3 EF hands, motifs that instead bind calcium in most other proteins. Here, we use sensitized terbium luminescence to probe the mechanism of lanthanide recognition by this protein as well as to develop a terbium-specific biosensor that can be applied directly in environmental samples. By incorporating tryptophan residues into specific EF hands, we infer the order of metal binding of these three sites. Despite lanmodulin's remarkable lanthanide binding properties, its coordination of approximately two solvent molecules per site (by luminescence lifetime) and metal dissociation kinetics (koff = 0.02-0.05 s-1, by stopped-flow fluorescence) are revealed to be rather ordinary among EF hands; what sets lanmodulin apart is that metal association is nearly diffusion limited (kon ≈ 109 M-1 s-1). Finally, we show that Trp-substituted lanmodulin can quantify 3 ppb (18 nM) terbium directly in acid mine drainage at pH 3.2 in the presence of a 100-fold excess of other rare earths and a 100 »000-fold excess of other metals using a plate reader. These studies not only yield insight into lanmodulin's mechanism of lanthanide recognition and the structures of its metal binding sites but also show that this protein's unique combination of affinity and selectivity outperforms synthetic luminescence-based sensors, opening the door to rapid and inexpensive methods for selective sensing of individual lanthanides in the environment and in-line monitoring in industrial operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14287-14299
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume143
Issue number35
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 8 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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