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Wei W.,Institute of Chemistry and BioMedical science | Wei W.,State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology | Sun Y.,Nanjing University | Zhu M.,Institute of Chemistry and BioMedical science | And 11 more authors.
Journal of the American Chemical Society | Year: 2015

The coordination bond between gold and sulfur (Au-S) has been widely studied and utilized in many fields. However, detailed investigations on the basic nature of this bond are still lacking. A gold-specific binding protein, GolB, was recently identified, providing a unique opportunity for the study of the Au-S bond at the molecular level. We probed the mechanical strength of the gold-sulfur bond in GolB using single-molecule force spectroscopy. We measured the rupture force of the Au-S bond to be 165 pN, much lower than Au-S bonds measured on different gold surfaces (1000 pN). We further solved the structures of apo-GolB and Au(I)-GolB complex using X-ray crystallography. These structures showed that the average Au-S bond length in GolB is much longer than the reported average value of Au-S bonds. Our results highlight the dramatic influence of the unique biological environment on the stability and strength of metal coordination bonds in proteins. © 2015 American Chemical Society.

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