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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.

SUBMITTER: Chernev P 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3037649 | BioStudies | 2011-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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