Structural analysis of alternative complex III in the photosynthetic electron transfer chain of Chloroflexus aurantiacus.
ABSTRACT: The green photosynthetic bacterium Chloroflexus aurantiacus, which belongs to the phylum of filamentous anoxygenic phototrophs, does not contain a cytochrome bc or bf type complex which is found in all other known groups of phototrophs. This suggests that a functional replacement exists to link the reaction center photochemistry to cyclic electron transfer as well as respiration. Earlier work identified a potential substitute of the cytochrome bc complex, now named alternative complex III (ACIII), which has been purified from C. aurantiacus, identified, and characterized. ACIII functions as a menaquinol:auracyanin oxidoreductase in the photosynthetic electron transfer chain, and a related but distinct complex functions in respiratory electron flow to a terminal oxidase. In this work, we focus on elucidating the structure of photosynthetic ACIII. We found that ACIII is an integral membrane protein complex of approximately 300 kDa that consists of eight subunits of seven different types. Among them, there are four metalloprotein subunits, including a 113 kDa iron-sulfur cluster-containing polypeptide, a 25 kDa penta-heme c-containing subunit, and two 20 kDa monoheme c-containing subunits in the form of a homodimer. A variety of analytical techniques were employed in determining the ACIII substructure, including HPLC combined with ESI-MS, metal analysis, potentiometric titration, and intensity analysis of heme staining SDS-PAGE. A preliminary structural model of ACIII is proposed on the basis of the analytical data and chemical cross-linking in tandem with mass analysis using MALDI-TOF, as well as transmembrane and transit peptide analysis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Chloroflexus aurantiacus is a thermophilic filamentous anoxygenic phototrophic (FAP) bacterium, and can grow phototrophically under anaerobic conditions or chemotrophically under aerobic and dark conditions. According to 16S rRNA analysis, Chloroflexi species are the earliest branching bacteria capable of photosynthesis, and Cfl. aurantiacus has been long regarded as a key organism to resolve the obscurity of the origin and early evolution of photosynthesis. Cfl. aurantiacus contains a chimeric photosystem that comprises some characters of green sulfur bacteria and purple photosynthetic bacteria, and also has some unique electron transport proteins compared to other photosynthetic bacteria. METHODS: The complete genomic sequence of Cfl. aurantiacus has been determined, analyzed and compared to the genomes of other photosynthetic bacteria. RESULTS: Abundant genomic evidence suggests that there have been numerous gene adaptations/replacements in Cfl. aurantiacus to facilitate life under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions, including duplicate genes and gene clusters for the alternative complex III (ACIII), auracyanin and NADH:quinone oxidoreductase; and several aerobic/anaerobic enzyme pairs in central carbon metabolism and tetrapyrroles and nucleic acids biosynthesis. Overall, genomic information is consistent with a high tolerance for oxygen that has been reported in the growth of Cfl. aurantiacus. Genes for the chimeric photosystem, photosynthetic electron transport chain, the 3-hydroxypropionate autotrophic carbon fixation cycle, CO2-anaplerotic pathways, glyoxylate cycle, and sulfur reduction pathway are present. The central carbon metabolism and sulfur assimilation pathways in Cfl. aurantiacus are discussed. Some features of the Cfl. aurantiacus genome are compared with those of the Roseiflexus castenholzii genome. Roseiflexus castenholzii is a recently characterized FAP bacterium and phylogenetically closely related to Cfl. aurantiacus. According to previous reports and the genomic information, perspectives of Cfl. aurantiacus in the evolution of photosynthesis are also discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The genomic analyses presented in this report, along with previous physiological, ecological and biochemical studies, indicate that the anoxygenic phototroph Cfl. aurantiacus has many interesting and certain unique features in its metabolic pathways. The complete genome may also shed light on possible evolutionary connections of photosynthesis.
Project description:Alternative complex III (ACIII) is a key component of the respiratory and/or photosynthetic electron transport chains of many bacteria1-3. Like complex III (also known as the bc1 complex), ACIII catalyses the oxidation of membrane-bound quinol and the reduction of cytochrome c or an equivalent electron carrier. However, the two complexes have no structural similarity4-7. Although ACIII has eluded structural characterization, several of its subunits are known to be homologous to members of the complex iron-sulfur molybdoenzyme (CISM) superfamily 8 , including the proton pump polysulfide reductase9,10. We isolated the ACIII from Flavobacterium johnsoniae with native lipids using styrene maleic acid copolymer11-14, both as an independent enzyme and as a functional 1:1 supercomplex with an aa3-type cytochrome c oxidase (cyt aa3). We determined the structure of ACIII to 3.4 Å resolution by cryo-electron microscopy and constructed an atomic model for its six subunits. The structure, which contains a [3Fe-4S] cluster, a [4Fe-4S] cluster and six haem c units, shows that ACIII uses known elements from other electron transport complexes arranged in a previously unknown manner. Modelling of the cyt aa3 component of the supercomplex revealed that it is structurally modified to facilitate association with ACIII, illustrating the importance of the supercomplex in this electron transport chain. The structure also resolves two of the subunits of ACIII that are anchored to the lipid bilayer with N-terminal triacylated cysteine residues, an important post-translational modification found in numerous prokaryotic membrane proteins that has not previously been observed structurally in a lipid bilayer.
Project description:Photosynthetic prokaryotes evolved diverse light-harvesting (LH) antennas to absorb sunlight and transfer energy to reaction centers (RC). The filamentous anoxygenic phototrophs (FAPs) are important early branching photosynthetic bacteria in understanding the origin and evolution of photosynthesis. How their photosynthetic machinery assembles for efficient energy transfer is yet to be elucidated. Here, we report the 4.1?Å structure of photosynthetic core complex from Roseiflexus castenholzii by cryo-electron microscopy. The RC-LH complex has a tetra-heme cytochrome c bound RC encompassed by an elliptical LH ring that is assembled from 15 LH?? subunits. An N-terminal transmembrane helix of cytochrome c inserts into the LH ring, not only yielding a tightly bound cytochrome c for rapid electron transfer, but also opening a slit in the LH ring, which is further flanked by a transmembrane helix from a newly discovered subunit X. These structural features suggest an unusual quinone exchange model of prokaryotic photosynthetic machinery.
Project description:The photochemical reaction center (RC) complex of Roseiflexus castenholzii, which belongs to the filamentous anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria (green filamentous bacteria) but lacks chlorosomes, was isolated and characterized. The genes coding for the subunits of the RC and the light-harvesting proteins were also cloned and sequenced. The RC complex was composed of L, M, and cytochrome subunits. The cytochrome subunit showed a molecular mass of approximately 35 kDa, contained hemes c, and functioned as the electron donor to the photo-oxidized special pair of bacteriochlorophylls in the RC. The RC complex appeared to contain three molecules of bacteriochlorophyll and three molecules of bacteriopheophytin, as in the RC preparation from Chloroflexus aurantiacus. Phylogenetic trees based on the deduced amino acid sequences of the RC subunits suggested that R. castenholzii had diverged from C. aurantiacus very early after the divergence of filamentous anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria from purple bacteria. Although R. castenholzii is phylogenetically related to C. aurantiacus, the arrangement of its puf genes, which code for the light-harvesting proteins and the RC subunits, was different from that in C. aurantiacus and similar to that in purple bacteria. The genes are found in the order pufB, -A, -L, -M, and -C, with the pufL and pufM genes forming one continuous open reading frame. Since the photosynthetic apparatus and genes of R. castenholzii have intermediate characteristics between those of purple bacteria and C. aurantiacus, it is likely that they retain many features of the common ancestor of purple bacteria and filamentous anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria.
Project description:Alternative complex III (ACIII) is a multisubunit quinol:electron acceptor oxidoreductase that couples quinol oxidation with transmembrane proton translocation in both the respiratory and photosynthetic electron transport chains of bacteria. The coupling mechanism, however, is poorly understood. Here, we report the cryo-EM structures of air-oxidized and dithionite-reduced ACIII from the photosynthetic bacterium Roseiflexus castenholzii at 3.3- and 3.5-Å resolution, respectively. We identified a menaquinol binding pocket and an electron transfer wire comprising six hemes and four iron-sulfur clusters that is capable of transferring electrons to periplasmic acceptors. We detected a proton translocation passage in which three strictly conserved, mid-passage residues are likely essential for coupling the redox-driven proton translocation across the membrane. These results allow us to propose a previously unrecognized coupling mechanism that links the respiratory and photosynthetic functions of ACIII. This study provides a structural basis for further investigation of the energy transformation mechanisms in bacterial photosynthesis and respiration.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The bioenergetics of Archaea with respect to the evolution of electron transfer systems is very interesting. In contrast to terminal oxidases, a canonical bc1 complex has not yet been isolated from Archaea. In particular, c-type cytochromes have been reported only for a limited number of species. RESULTS: Here, we isolated a c-type cytochrome-containing enzyme complex from the membranes of the hyperthermophilic archaeon, Aeropyrum pernix, grown aerobically. The redox spectrum of the isolated c-type cytochrome showed a characteristic ?-band peak at 553 nm corresponding to heme C. The pyridine hemochrome spectrum also revealed the presence of heme B. In non-denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, the cytochrome migrated as a single band with an apparent molecular mass of 80 kDa, and successive SDS-PAGE separated the 80-kDa band into 3 polypeptides with apparent molecular masses of 40, 30, and 25 kDa. The results of mass spectrometry indicated that the 25-kDa band corresponded to the hypothetical cytochrome c subunit encoded by the ORF APE_1719.1. In addition, the c-type cytochrome-containing polypeptide complex exhibited menaquinone: yeast cytochrome c oxidoreductase activities. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we showed that A. pernix, a hyperthemophilic archaeon, has a "full" bc complex that includes a c-type cytochrome, and to the best of our knowledge, A. pernix is the first archaea from which such a bc complex has been identified. However, an electron donor candidates for cytochrome c oxidase, such as a blue copper protein, have not yet been identified in the whole genome data of this archaeon. We are currently trying to identify an authentic substrate between a bc complex and terminal oxidase.
Project description:The cytochrome c oxidase Cox2 has been purified from native membranes of the hyperthermophilic eubacterium Aquifex aeolicus. It is a cytochrome ba(3) oxidase belonging to the family B of the heme-copper containing terminal oxidases. It consists of three subunits, subunit I (CoxA2, 63.9 kDa), subunit II (CoxB2, 16.8 kDa), and an additional subunit IIa of 5.2 kDa. Surprisingly it is able to oxidize both reduced cytochrome c and ubiquinol in a cyanide sensitive manner. Cox2 is part of a respiratory chain supercomplex. This supercomplex contains the fully assembled cytochrome bc(1) complex and Cox2. Although direct ubiquinol oxidation by Cox2 conserves less energy than ubiquinol oxidation by the cytochrome bc(1) complex followed by cytochrome c oxidation by a cytochrome c oxidase, ubiquinol oxidation by Cox2 is of advantage when all ubiquinone would be completely reduced to ubiquinol, e.g., by the sulfidequinone oxidoreductase, because the cytochrome bc(1) complex requires the presence of ubiquinone to function according to the Q-cycle mechanism. In the case that all ubiquinone has been reduced to ubiquinol its reoxidation by Cox2 will enable the cytochrome bc(1) complex to resume working.
Project description:Photoferrotrophy is a form of anoxygenic photosynthesis whereby bacteria utilize soluble or insoluble forms of ferrous iron as an electron donor to fix carbon dioxide using light energy. They can also use poised electrodes as their electron donor via phototrophic extracellular electron uptake (phototrophic EEU). The electron uptake mechanisms underlying these processes are not well understood. Using Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 as a model, we show that a single periplasmic decaheme cytochrome c, PioA, and an outer membrane porin, PioB, form a complex allowing extracellular electron uptake across the outer membrane from both soluble iron and poised electrodes. We observe that PioA undergoes postsecretory proteolysis of its N terminus to produce a shorter heme-attached PioA (holo-PioAC, where PioAC represents the C terminus of PioA), which can exist both freely in the periplasm and in a complex with PioB. The extended N-terminal peptide controls heme attachment, and its processing is required to produce wild-type levels of holo-PioAC and holo-PioACB complex. It is also conserved in PioA homologs from other phototrophs. The presence of PioAB in these organisms correlate with their ability to perform photoferrotrophy and phototrophic EEU.IMPORTANCE Some anoxygenic phototrophs use soluble iron, insoluble iron minerals (such as rust), or their proxies (poised electrodes) as electron donors for photosynthesis. However, the underlying electron uptake mechanisms are not well established. Here, we show that these phototrophs use a protein complex made of an outer membrane porin and a periplasmic decaheme cytochrome (electron transfer protein) to harvest electrons from both soluble iron and poised electrodes. This complex has two unique characteristics: (i) it lacks an extracellular cytochrome c, and (ii) the periplasmic decaheme cytochrome c undergoes proteolytic cleavage to produce a functional electron transfer protein. These characteristics are conserved in phototrophs harboring homologous proteins.
Project description:Comparative analysis of 15 complete cyanobacterial genome sequences, including "near minimal" genomes of five strains of Prochlorococcus spp., revealed 1,054 protein families [core cyanobacterial clusters of orthologous groups of proteins (core CyOGs)] encoded in at least 14 of them. The majority of the core CyOGs are involved in central cellular functions that are shared with other bacteria; 50 core CyOGs are specific for cyanobacteria, whereas 84 are exclusively shared by cyanobacteria and plants and/or other plastid-carrying eukaryotes, such as diatoms or apicomplexans. The latter group includes 35 families of uncharacterized proteins, which could also be involved in photosynthesis. Only a few components of cyanobacterial photosynthetic machinery are represented in the genomes of the anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria Chlorobium tepidum, Rhodopseudomonas palustris, Chloroflexus aurantiacus, or Heliobacillus mobilis. These observations, coupled with recent geological data on the properties of the ancient phototrophs, suggest that photosynthesis originated in the cyanobacterial lineage under the selective pressures of UV light and depletion of electron donors. We propose that the first phototrophs were anaerobic ancestors of cyanobacteria ("procyanobacteria") that conducted anoxygenic photosynthesis using a photosystem I-like reaction center, somewhat similar to the heterocysts of modern filamentous cyanobacteria. From procyanobacteria, photosynthesis spread to other phyla by way of lateral gene transfer.
Project description:Structure-function studies of the cytochrome b6f complex, the central hetero-oligomeric membrane protein complex in the electron transport chain of oxygenic photosynthesis, which formed the basis for a high-resolution (2.5 Å) crystallographic solution of the complex, are described. Structure-function differences between the structure of subunits of the bc complexes, b6f, and bc1 from mitochondria and photosynthetic bacteria, which are often assumed to function identically, are discussed. Major differences which suggest that quinone-dependent electron transport pathways can vary in b6f and bc1 complexes are as follows: (a) an additional c-type heme, cn, and bound single copies of chlorophyll a and ?-carotene in the b6f complex; and (b) a cyclic electron transport pathway that encompasses the b6f and PSI reaction center complexes. The importance of including lipid in crystallization of the cytochrome complex, or with any hetero-oligomeric membrane protein complex, is emphasized, and consequences to structure-function of b6f being a lipoprotein complex discussed, including intra-protein dielectric heterogeneity and resultant pathways of trans-membrane electron transport. The role of the b6f complex in trans-membrane signal transduction from reductant generated on the p-side of the electron transport chain to the regulation of light energy to the two photosystems by trans-side phosphorylation of the light-harvesting chlorophyll protein is presented. Regarding structure aspects relevant to plastoquinol-quinone entrance-egress: (i) modification of the p-side channel for plastoquinone access to the iron-sulfur protein would change the rate-limiting step in electron transport; (ii) the narrow niche for entry of plastoquinol into b6f from the PSII reaction center complex would seem to require close proximity between the complexes.