Kβ X-ray Emission Spectroscopy as a Probe of Cu(I) Sites: Application to the Cu(I) Site in Preprocessed Galactose Oxidase


Cu(I) active sites in metalloproteins are involved in O2 activation, but their O2 reactivity is difficult to study due to the Cu(I) d10 closed shell which precludes the use of conventional spectroscopic methods. Kβ X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) is a promising technique for investigating Cu(I) sites as it detects photons emitted by electronic transitions from occupied orbitals. Here, we demonstrate the utility of Kβ XES in probing Cu(I) sites in model complexes and a metalloprotein. Using Cu(I)Cl, emission features from double-ionization (DI) states are identified using varying incident X-ray photon energies, and a reasonable method to correct the data to remove DI contributions is presented. Kβ XES spectra of Cu(I) model complexes, having biologically relevant N/S ligands and different coordination numbers, are compared and analyzed, with the aid of density functional theory (DFT) calculations, to evaluate the sensitivity of the spectral features to the ligand environment. While the low-energy Kβ2,5 emission feature reflects the ionization energy of ligand np valence orbitals, the high-energy Kβ2,5 emission feature corresponds to transitions from molecular orbitals (MOs) having mainly Cu 3d character with the intensities determined by ligand-mediated d–p mixing. A Kβ XES spectrum of the Cu(I) site in preprocessed galactose oxidase (GOpre) supports the 1Tyr/2His structural model that was determined by our previous X-ray absorption spectroscopy and DFT study. The high-energy Kβ2,5 emission feature in the Cu(I)-GOpre data has information about the MO containing mostly Cu 3dx2–y2 character that is the frontier molecular orbital (FMO) for O2 activation, which shows the potential of Kβ XES in probing the Cu(I) FMO associated with small-molecule activation in metalloproteins.


This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in Inorganic Chemistry, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c02495


x-ray emission spectroscopy


Kβ X-ray Emission Spectroscopy as a Probe of Cu(I) Sites: Application to the Cu(I) Site in Preprocessed Galactose Oxidase
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