The cooperativity of ligand binding is central to biological regulation and new approaches are needed to quantify these allosteric relationships. Herein, we exploit a suite of mass spectrometry (MS) experiments to provide novel insights into homotropic Cu-binding cooperativity, gas-phase stabilities and conformational ensembles of the D2 -symmetric, homotetrameric copper-sensitive operon repressor (CsoR) as a function of Cu(I) ligation state. Cu(I) binding is overall positively cooperative, but is characterized by distinct ligation state-specific cooperativities. Structural transitions occur upon binding the first and fourth Cu(I) , with the latter occurring with significantly higher cooperativity than previous steps; this results in the formation of a holo-tetramer that is markedly more resistant than apo-, and partially ligated CsoR tetramers toward surface-induced dissociation (SID).
Keywords: allostery; copper; metalloproteins; metalloregulation; surface-induced dissociation.
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