Using measurements of solvent nuclear (proton) magnetic relaxation dispersion (NMRD), we have previously shown that concanavalin A (Con A) can exist in two conformational forms and that, in the absence of Ca2+, Mn2+ can bind to both the S1 and S2 sites of each monomer of Con A of at least one conformer [Brown, R. D., III, Brewer, C. F., & Koenig, S. H. (1977) Biochemistry 16, 3883–3896]. Recently other investigators have claimed that the stoichiometry of Mn2+ binding to Con A is only 1:1 for this conformational state, both in the absence and presence of saccharide; the same was claimed for Ca2+ under similar conditions. We now present titration and equilibrium dialysis experiments, both in the absence and presence of saccharide, using NMRD and atomic absorption spectroscopy, to investigate the stoichiometry of Mn2+ and Ca2+ binding to Con A. We have extended the NMRD method to include the determination of the total concentration of Mn2+ in samples of Con A. This, coupled with our previous use of NMRD to measure the concentration of free Mn2+ in protein solutions as well as the distribution of bound Mn2+ among different sites, allows us to measure the stoichiometry of binding with precision. We reconfirm that, at equilibrium in the presence of excess Mn2+, the binding stoichiometry of Mn2+ to Con A is 2:1, both in the absence and presence of saccharide. Addition of Ca2+ to a solution of Mn2+-Con A results in stoichiometric displacement of Mn2+ from the S2 site under the conditions investigated. Under nonequilibrium conditions, Mn2+ forms a metastable binary complex with the protein that persists for days at 5 °C. We also report, for the first time, values for all of the dissociation constants of binary and ternary complexes of Mn2+ with both conformations of Con A in solution. Atomic absorption measurements also indicate that Ca2+, in the absence of Mn2+, binds to both S1 and S2 sites in the absence and presence of saccharides.
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