X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy is a synchrotron radiation technique sensitive to the local structure and dynamics around the metal site of a heme containing protein. Advances in detection techniques and theoretical/computational platforms in the last 15years allowed the use of XANES as a quantitative probe of the key structural determinants driving functional changes, both in a concerted way with protein crystallography and EXAFS (extended X-ray absorption fine structure), or as a stand-alone method to apply in the crystal state as well as in solution. Moreover, the local dynamics of the heme site has been deeply investigated, on one hand, coupling XANES to classical photolysis experiments at cryogenic temperatures; on the other hand, the intrinsic property of the synchrotron radiation to induce radiolysis events, has been exploited to investigate specific cryotrapped intermediates, using X-rays both as a pump and a probe. Insights on the XANES method and some specific examples are presented to illustrate these topics.
- Structural Dynamics