The reduction of ferric derivatives of hemeproteins in solution typically requires moderate to strong reducing agents. Reducing sugars are not adequate to reduce ferric myoglobins or hemoglobins under solution conditions favorable to protein stability. We find that embedding aquo-met derivatives of horse myoglobin and human adult hemoglobin in a glucose-doped glassy matrix derived from trehalose facilitates an efficient thermally initiated reduction that yields a five-coordinate high-spin ferrous heme. The trehalose glass plays a central role by stabilizing the reduction-prone bis-histidine heme (hemichrome) intermediate under the high-temperature conditions that favor the open reducing form of glucose. Due to glass-imposed limitations on conformational reorganization, this process has clear applications in biophysics where it can be used to generate nonequilibrium ferrous derivatives having the initial conformation of the aquo-met derivative. Since the glassy matrix can be redissolved to release the embedded protein, this technique is not only a basis for a relatively benign method of reducing hemoglobin-based blood substitutes that have undergone autoxidation during storage but may also be a way to reactivate stored proteins that have undergone oxidation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry