Ferric metHb can be photoreduced to the ferrous state by direct photoexcitation in the nearultraviolet region. In this research, we studied the mechanism and facilitating conditions for the photoreduction and the resulting restoration of O2 binding. MetHb in phosphate-buffered saline or pure water in a CO atmosphere was photoreduced to form HbCO by illuminating the N band (365 nm), one of the porphyrin π ← π* transitions, whereas the photoreduction did not occur in Ar, N2, or O2. The transient absorption spectrum exhibited the generation of deoxyHb within 30 ns in both the CO and Ar atmospheres; however, only in CO did the subsequent CO binding inhibit the back reaction. The photoreduction rate was dependent on the pH and ligand anions, showing that aquametHb in the high-spin state was predominant for the photoreduction. Axial ligand-to-metal charge-transfer (LMCT) bands overlap with the Soret and Q bands in metHb; however, the excitation of these bands showed little photoreduction, indicating that the contribution of these LMCT bands is minimal. Excitation of the N band significantly contributes to the photoreduction, and this is facilitated by the external addition of mannitol, hyaluronic acid, Trp, Tyr, etc. Especially, Trp allowed the photoreduction even in an Ar atmosphere, and the reduced Hb can be converted to HbO2 by O2 bubbling. One mechanism of the metHb photoreduction that is proposed on the basis of these results consists of a charge transfer from the porphyrin ring to the central ferric iron to form the porphyrin π cation radical and ferrous iron by the N band excitation, and the contribution of the amino acid residues in the globin chain as an electron donor or an electron pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas