Carboxylate shifts steer interquinone electron transfer in photosynthesis.
ABSTRACT: Understanding the mechanisms of electron transfer (ET) in photosynthetic reaction centers (RCs) may inspire novel catalysts for sunlight-driven fuel production. The electron exit pathway of type II RCs comprises two quinone molecules working in series and in between a non-heme iron atom with a carboxyl ligand (bicarbonate in photosystem II (PSII), glutamate in bacterial RCs). For decades, the functional role of the iron has remained enigmatic. We tracked the iron site using microsecond-resolution x-ray absorption spectroscopy after laser-flash excitation of PSII. After formation of the reduced primary quinone, Q(A)(-), the x-ray spectral changes revealed a transition (t½ ? 150 ?s) from a bidentate to a monodentate coordination of the bicarbonate at the Fe(II) (carboxylate shift), which reverted concomitantly with the slower ET to the secondary quinone Q(B). A redox change of the iron during the ET was excluded. Density-functional theory calculations corroborated the carboxylate shift both in PSII and bacterial RCs and disclosed underlying changes in electronic configuration. We propose that the iron-carboxyl complex facilitates the first interquinone ET by optimizing charge distribution and hydrogen bonding within the Q(A)FeQ(B) triad for high yield Q(B) reduction. Formation of a specific priming intermediate by nuclear rearrangements, setting the stage for subsequent ET, may be a common motif in reactions of biological redox cofactors.
Project description:The fluorescence kinetics of cyanobacterial photosystem II (PSII) core particles with closed reaction centers (RCs) were studied with picosecond resolution. The data are modeled in terms of electron transfer (ET) and associated protein conformational relaxation processes, resolving four different radical pair (RP) states. The target analyses reveal the importance of protein relaxation steps in the ET chain for the functioning of PSII. We also tested previously published data on cyanobacterial PSII with open RCs using models that involved protein relaxation steps as suggested by our data on closed RCs. The rationale for this reanalysis is that at least one short-lived component could not be described in the previous simpler models. This new analysis supports the involvement of a protein relaxation step for open RCs as well. In this model the rate of ET from reduced pheophytin to the primary quinone Q(A) is determined to be 4.1 ns(-1). The rate of initial charge separation is slowed down substantially from approximately 170 ns(-1) in PSII with open RCs to 56 ns(-1) upon reduction of Q(A). However, the free-energy drop of the first RP is not changed substantially between the two RC redox states. The currently assumed mechanistic model, assuming the same early RP intermediates in both states of RC, is inconsistent with the presented energetics of the RPs. Additionally, a comparison between PSII with closed RCs in isolated cores and in intact cells reveals slightly different relaxation kinetics, with a approximately 3.7 ns component present only in isolated cores.
Project description:The midpoint potential (Em) of [Formula: see text], the one-electron acceptor quinone of Photosystem II (PSII), provides the thermodynamic reference for calibrating PSII bioenergetics. Uncertainty exists in the literature, with two values differing by ?80 mV. Here, we have resolved this discrepancy by using spectroelectrochemistry on plant PSII-enriched membranes. Removal of bicarbonate (HCO3-) shifts the Em from ?-145 mV to -70 mV. The higher values reported earlier are attributed to the loss of HCO3- during the titrations (pH 6.5, stirred under argon gassing). These findings mean that HCO3- binds less strongly when QA-• is present. Light-induced QA-• formation triggered HCO3- loss as manifest by the slowed electron transfer and the upshift in the Em of QA HCO3--depleted PSII also showed diminished light-induced 1O2 formation. This finding is consistent with a model in which the increase in the Em of [Formula: see text] promotes safe, direct [Formula: see text] charge recombination at the expense of the damaging back-reaction route that involves chlorophyll triplet-mediated 1O2 formation [Johnson GN, et al. (1995) Biochim Biophys Acta 1229:202-207]. These findings provide a redox tuning mechanism, in which the interdependence of the redox state of QA and the binding by HCO3- regulates and protects PSII. The potential for a sink (CO2) to source (PSII) feedback mechanism is discussed.
Project description:The effect of bicarbonate (HCO3-) on photosystem II (PSII) activity was discovered in the 1950s, but only recently have its molecular mechanisms begun to be clarified. Two chemical mechanisms have been proposed. One is for the electron-donor side, in which mobile HCO3- enhances and possibly regulates water oxidation by acting as proton acceptor, after which it dissociates into CO2 and H2O. The other is for the electron-acceptor side, in which (i) reduction of the QA quinone leads to the release of HCO3- from its binding site on the non-heme iron and (ii) the Em potential of the QA/QA•- couple increases when HCO3- dissociates. This suggested a protective/regulatory role of HCO3- as it is known that increasing the Em of QA decreases the extent of back-reaction-associated photodamage. Here we demonstrate, using plant thylakoids, that time-resolved membrane-inlet mass spectrometry together with 13C isotope labeling of HCO3- allows donor- and acceptor-side formation of CO2 by PSII to be demonstrated and distinguished, which opens the door for future studies of the importance of both mechanisms under in vivo conditions.
Project description:A three-dimensional model of the photosystem II (PSII) reaction center from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 was generated based on homology with the anoxygenic purple bacterial photosynthetic reaction centers of Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Rhodopseudomonas viridis, for which the X-ray crystallographic structures are available. The model was constructed with an alignment of D1 and D2 sequences with the L and M subunits of the bacterial reaction center, respectively, and by using as a scaffold the structurally conserved regions (SCRs) from bacterial templates. The structurally variant regions were built using a novel sequence-specific approach of searching for the best-matched protein segments in the Protein Data Bank with the "basic local alignment search tool" (Altschul SF, Gish W, Miller W, Myers EW, Lipman DJ, 1990, J Mol Biol 215:403-410), and imposing the matching conformational preference on the corresponding D1 and D2 regions. The structure thus obtained was refined by energy minimization. The modeled D1 and D2 proteins contain five transmembrane alpha-helices each, with cofactors (4 chlorophylls, 2 pheophytins, 2 plastoquinones, and a non-heme iron) essential for PSII primary photochemistry embedded in them. A beta-carotene, considered important for PSII photoprotection, was also included in the model. Four different possible conformations of the primary electron donor P680 chlorophylls were proposed, one based on the homology with the bacterial template and the other three on existing experimental suggestions in literature. The P680 conformation based on homology was preferred because it has the lowest energy. Redox active tyrosine residues important for P680+ reduction as well as residues important for PSII cofactor binding were analyzed. Residues involved in interprotein interactions in the model were also identified. Herbicide 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea (DCMU) was also modeled in the plastoquinone QB binding niche using the structural information available from a DCMU-binding bacterial reaction center. A bicarbonate anion, known to play a role in PSII, but not in anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria, was modeled in the non-heme iron site, providing a bidentate ligand to the iron. By modifying the previous hypothesis of Blubaugh and Govindjee (1988, Photosyn Res 19:85-128), we modeled a second bicarbonate and a water molecule in the QB site and we proposed a hypothesis to explain the mechanism of QB protonation mediated by bicarbonate and water. The bicarbonate, stabilized by D1-R257, donates a proton to QB2- through the intermediate of D1-H252; and a water molecule donates another proton to QB2-. Based on the discovery of a "water transport channel" in the bacterial reaction center, an analogous channel for transporting water and bicarbonate is proposed in our PSII model. The putative channel appears to be primarily positively charged near QB and the non-heme iron, in contrast to the polarity distribution in the bacterial water transport channel. The constructed model has been found to be consistent with most existing data.
Project description:Photosystem II (PSII) of photosynthesis has the unique ability to photochemically oxidize water. Recently an engineered bacterioferritin photochemical 'reaction centre' (BFR-RC) using a zinc chlorin pigment (ZnCe6) in place of its native heme has been shown to photo-oxidize bound manganese ions through a tyrosine residue, thus mimicking two of the key reactions on the electron donor side of PSII. To understand the mechanism of tyrosine oxidation in BFR-RCs, and explore the possibility of water oxidation in such a system we have built an atomic-level model of the BFR-RC using ONIOM methodology. We studied the influence of axial ligands and carboxyl groups on the oxidation potential of ZnCe6 using DFT theory, and finally calculated the shift of the redox potential of ZnCe6 in the BFR-RC protein using the multi-conformational molecular mechanics-Poisson-Boltzmann approach. According to our calculations, the redox potential for the first oxidation of ZnCe6 in the BRF-RC protein is only 0.57 V, too low to oxidize tyrosine. We suggest that the observed tyrosine oxidation in BRF-RC could be driven by the ZnCe6 di-cation. In order to increase the efficiency of tyrosine oxidation, and ultimately oxidize water, the first potential of ZnCe6 would have to attain a value in excess of 0.8 V. We discuss the possibilities for modifying the BFR-RC to achieve this goal.
Project description:At the heart of photosynthetic reaction centers (RCs) are pairs of chlorophyll a (Chla), P700 in photosystem I (PSI) and P680 in photosystem II (PSII) of cyanobacteria, algae, or plants, and a pair of bacteriochlorophyll a (BChla), P870 in purple bacterial RCs (PbRCs). These pairs differ greatly in their redox potentials for one-electron oxidation, E(m). For P680, E(m) is 1,100-1,200 mV, but for P700 and P870, E(m) is only 500 mV. Calculations with the linearized Poisson-Boltzmann equation reproduce these measured E(m) differences successfully. Analyzing the origin for these differences, we found as major factors in PSII the unique Mn(4)Ca cluster (relative to PSI and PbRC), the position of P680 close to the luminal edge of transmembrane alpha-helix d (relative to PSI), local variations in the cd loop (relative to PbRC), and the intrinsically higher E(m) of Chla compared with BChla (relative to PbRC).
Project description:The Mn4CaO5 cluster site in the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II (PSII) undergoes structural perturbations, such as those induced by Ca2+/Sr2+ exchanges or Ca/Mn removal. These changes have been known to induce long-range positive shifts (between +30 and +150 mV) in the redox potential of the primary quinone electron acceptor plastoquinone A (QA), which is located 40 Å from the OEC. To further investigate these effects, we reanalyzed the crystal structure of Sr-PSII resolved at 2.1 Å and compared it with the native Ca-PSII resolved at 1.9 Å. Here, we focus on the acceptor site and report the possible long-range interactions between the donor, Mn4Ca(Sr)O5 cluster, and acceptor sites.
Project description:The mechanism and kinetics of electron transfer in isolated D1/D2-cyt(b559) photosystem (PS) II reaction centers (RCs) and in intact PSII cores have been studied by femtosecond transient absorption and kinetic compartment modeling. For intact PSII, a component of approximately 1.5 ps reflects the dominant energy-trapping kinetics from the antenna by the RC. A 5.5-ps component reflects the apparent lifetime of primary charge separation, which is faster by a factor of 8-12 than assumed so far. The 35-ps component represents the apparent lifetime of formation of a secondary radical pair, and the approximately 200-ps component represents the electron transfer to the Q(A) acceptor. In isolated RCs, the apparent lifetimes of primary and secondary charge separation are approximately 3 and 11 ps, respectively. It is shown (i) that pheophytin is reduced in the first step, and (ii) that the rate constants of electron transfer in the RC are identical for PSII cores and for isolated RCs. We interpret the first electron transfer step as electron donation from the primary electron donor Chl(acc D1). Thus, this mechanism, suggested earlier for isolated RCs at cryogenic temperatures, is also operative in intact PSII cores and in isolated RCs at ambient temperature. The effective rate constant of primary electron transfer from the equilibrated RC* excited state is 170-180 ns(-1), and the rate constant of secondary electron transfer is 120-130 ns(-1).
Project description:We have investigated the nature of the photocurrent generated by Photosystem II (PSII), the water oxidizing enzyme, isolated from Thermosynechococcus elongatus, when immobilized on nanostructured titanium dioxide on an indium tin oxide electrode (TiO2/ITO). We investigated the properties of the photocurrent from PSII when immobilized as a monolayer versus multilayers, in the presence and absence of an inhibitor that binds to the site of the exchangeable quinone (QB) and in the presence and absence of exogenous mobile electron carriers (mediators). The findings indicate that electron transfer occurs from the first quinone (QA) directly to the electrode surface but that the electron transfer through the nanostructured metal oxide is the rate-limiting step. Redox mediators enhance the photocurrent by taking electrons from the nanostructured semiconductor surface to the ITO electrode surface not from PSII. This is demonstrated by photocurrent enhancement using a mediator incapable of accepting electrons from PSII. This model for electron transfer also explains anomalies reported in the literature using similar and related systems. The slow rate of the electron transfer step in the TiO2 is due to the energy level of electron injection into the semiconducting material being below the conduction band. This limits the usefulness of the present hybrid electrode. Strategies to overcome this kinetic limitation are discussed.
Project description:Nitrite, a common form of inorganic nitrogen (N), can be used as a nitrogen source through N assimilation. However, high levels of nitrite depress photosynthesis in various organisms. In this study, we investigated which components of the photosynthetic electron transfer chain are targeted by nitrite stress in Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 cells. Measurements of whole-chain and photosystem II (PSII)-mediated electron transport activities revealed that high levels of nitrite primarily impair electron flow in PSII. Changes in PSII activity in response to nitrite stress occurred in two distinct phases. During the first phase, which occurred in the first 3 h of nitrite treatment, electron transfer from the primary quinone acceptor (Q<sub>A</sub>) to the secondary quinone acceptor (Q<sub>B</sub>) was retarded, as indicated by chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence induction, S-state distribution, and Q<sub>A</sub><sup>-</sup> reoxidation tests. In the second phase, which occurred after 6 h of nitrite exposure, the reaction center was inactivated and the donor side of photosystem II was inhibited, as revealed by changes in Chl fluorescence parameters and thermoluminescence and by immunoblot analysis. Our data suggest that nitrite stress is highly damaging to PSII and disrupts PSII activity by a stepwise mechanism in which the acceptor side is the initial target. IMPORTANCE In our previous studies, an alga-based technology was proposed to fix the large amounts of nitrite that are released from NO<sub>X</sub>-rich flue gases and proved to be a promising industrial strategy for flue gas NO<sub>X</sub> bioremediation (W. Chen et al., Environ Sci Technol 50:1620-1627, 2016, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.5b04696; X. Zhang et al., Environ Sci Technol 48:10497-10504, 2014, https://doi.org/10.1021/es5013824). However, the toxic effects of high concentrations of nitrite on algal cells remain obscure. The analysis of growth rates, photochemistry, and protein profiles in our study provides important evidence that the inhibition by nitrite occurs in two phases: in the first phase, electron transfer between Q<sub>A</sub><sup>-</sup> and Q<sub>B</sub> is retarded, whereas in the second, the donor side of PSII is affected. This is an excellent example of investigating the "early" inhibitory effects (i.e., within the first 6 h) on the PSII electron transfer chain in vivo This paper provides novel insights into the mechanisms of nitrite inhibition of photosynthesis in an oxygenic phototrophic cyanobacterium.