Role of bulk water in hydrolysis of the rhodopsin chromophore.
ABSTRACT: Rhodopsin (Rho) is a prototypical G protein-coupled receptor that changes from an inactive conformational state to a G protein-activating state as a consequence of its retinal chromophore isomerization, 11-cis-retinal → all-trans-retinal. The photoisomerized chromophore covalently linked to Lys(296) by a Schiff base is subsequently hydrolyzed, but little is known about this reaction. Recent research indicates a significant role for tightly bound transmembrane water molecules in the Rho activation process. Atomic structures of Rho and hydroxyl radical footprinting reveal ordered waters within Rho transmembrane helices that are located close to highly conserved and functionally important receptor residues, forming a hydrogen bond network. Using (18)O-labeled H(2)O, we now report that water from bulk solvent, but not tightly bound water, is involved in the hydrolytic release of chromophore upon Rho activation by light. Moreover, small molecules (and presumably, water) enter the Rho structure from the cytoplasmic side of the membrane. Thus, this work indicates two distinct origins of water vital for Rho function.
Project description:Regeneration of the chromophore 11-cis-retinal is essential for the generation of light-sensitive visual pigments in the vertebrate retina. A deficiency in 11-cis-retinal production leads to congenital blindness in humans; however, a buildup of the photoisomerized chromophore can also be detrimental. Such is the case when the photoisomerized all-trans-retinal is produced but cannot be efficiently cleared from the internal membrane of the outer segment discs. Sustained increase of all-trans-retinal can lead to the formation of toxic condensation products in the eye. Thus, there is a need for potent, selective inhibitors that can regulate the flux of retinoids through the metabolism pathway termed the visual (retinoid) cycle. Here we systematically study the effects of the most potent inhibitor of this cycle, retinylamine (Ret-NH2), on visual function in mice. Prolonged, sustainable, but reversible suppression of the visual function was observed by Ret-NH2 as a result of its storage in a prodrug form, N-retinylamides. Direct comparison of other inhibitors such as fenretinide and 13-cis-retinoic acid showed multiple advantages of Ret-NH2 and its amides, including a higher potency, specificity, and lower transcription activation. Our results also revealed that mice treated with Ret-NH2 were completely resistant to the light-induced retina damage. As an experimental tool, Ret-NH2 allows the replacement of the native chromophore with synthetic analogs in wild-type mice to better understand the function of the chromophore in the activation of rhodopsin and its metabolism through the retinoid cycle.
Project description:By engineering a microbial rhodopsin, Archaerhodopsin-3 (Arch), to bind a synthetic chromophore, merocyanine retinal, in place of the natural chromophore all-trans-retinal (ATR), we generated a protein with exceptionally bright and unprecedentedly red-shifted near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence. We show that chromophore substitution generates a fluorescent Arch complex with a 200-nm bathochromic excitation shift relative to ATR-bound wild-type Arch and an emission maximum at 772 nm. Directed evolution of this complex produced variants with pH-sensitive NIR fluorescence and molecular brightness 8.5-fold greater than the brightest ATR-bound Arch variant. The resulting proteins are well suited to bacterial imaging; expression and stability have not been optimized for mammalian cell imaging. By targeting both the protein and its chromophore, we overcome inherent challenges associated with engineering bright NIR fluorescence into Archaerhodopsin. This work demonstrates an efficient strategy for engineering non-natural, tailored properties into microbial opsins, properties relevant for imaging and interrogating biological systems.
Project description:The visual (retinoid) cycle is a fundamental metabolic process in vertebrate retina responsible for production of 11-cis-retinal, the chromophore of rhodopsin and cone pigments. 11-cis-Retinal is bound to opsins, forming visual pigments, and when the resulting visual chromophore 11-cis-retinylidene is photoisomerized to all-trans-retinylidene, all-trans-retinal is released from these receptors. Toxic byproducts of the visual cycle formed from all-trans-retinal often are associated with lipofuscin deposits in the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE), but it is not clear whether aberrant reactions of the visual cycle participate in RPE atrophy, leading to a rapid onset of retinopathy. Here we report that mice lacking both the ATP-binding cassette transporter 4 (Abca4) and enzyme retinol dehydrogenase 8 (Rdh8), proteins critical for all-trans-retinal clearance from photoreceptors, developed severe RPE/photoreceptor dystrophy at an early age. This phenotype includes lipofuscin, drusen, and basal laminar deposits, Bruch's membrane thickening, and choroidal neovascularization. Importantly, the severity of visual dysfunction and retinopathy was exacerbated by light but attenuated by treatment with retinylamine, a visual cycle inhibitor that slows the flow of all-trans-retinal through the visual cycle. These findings provide direct evidence that aberrant production of toxic condensation byproducts of the visual cycle in mice can lead to rapid, progressive retinal degeneration.
Project description:Homologous to bacteriorhodopsin and even more to proteorhodopsin, xanthorhodopsin is a light-driven proton pump that, in addition to retinal, contains a noncovalently bound carotenoid with a function of a light-harvesting antenna. We determined the structure of this eubacterial membrane protein-carotenoid complex by X-ray diffraction, to 1.9-A resolution. Although it contains 7 transmembrane helices like bacteriorhodopsin and archaerhodopsin, the structure of xanthorhodopsin is considerably different from the 2 archaeal proteins. The crystallographic model for this rhodopsin introduces structural motifs for proton transfer during the reaction cycle, particularly for proton release, that are dramatically different from those in other retinal-based transmembrane pumps. Further, it contains a histidine-aspartate complex for regulating the pK(a) of the primary proton acceptor not present in archaeal pumps but apparently conserved in eubacterial pumps. In addition to aiding elucidation of a more general proton transfer mechanism for light-driven energy transducers, the structure defines also the geometry of the carotenoid and the retinal. The close approach of the 2 polyenes at their ring ends explains why the efficiency of the excited-state energy transfer is as high as approximately 45%, and the 46 degrees angle between them suggests that the chromophore location is a compromise between optimal capture of light of all polarization angles and excited-state energy transfer.
Project description:Rhodopsin is a highly specialized G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that is activated by the rapid photochemical isomerization of its covalently bound 11-cis-retinal chromophore. Using two-dimensional solid-state NMR spectroscopy, we defined the position of the retinal in the active metarhodopsin II intermediate. Distance constraints were obtained between amino acids in the retinal binding site and specific (13)C-labeled sites located on the beta-ionone ring, polyene chain, and Schiff base end of the retinal. We show that the retinal C20 methyl group rotates toward the second extracellular loop (EL2), which forms a cap on the retinal binding site in the inactive receptor. Despite the trajectory of the methyl group, we observed an increase in the C20-Gly(188) (EL2) distance consistent with an increase in separation between the retinal and EL2 upon activation. NMR distance constraints showed that the beta-ionone ring moves to a position between Met(207) and Phe(208) on transmembrane helix H5. Movement of the ring toward H5 was also reflected in increased separation between the Cepsilon carbons of Lys(296) (H7) and Met(44) (H1) and between Gly(121) (H3) and the retinal C18 methyl group. Helix-helix interactions involving the H3-H5 and H4-H5 interfaces were also found to change in the formation of metarhodopsin II reflecting increased retinal-protein interactions in the region of Glu(122) (H3) and His(211) (H5). We discuss the location of the retinal in metarhodopsin II and its interaction with sequence motifs, which are highly conserved across the pharmaceutically important class A GPCR family, with respect to the mechanism of receptor activation.
Project description:The 11-cis retinal chromophore is tightly packed within the interior of the visual receptor rhodopsin and isomerizes to the all-trans configuration following absorption of light. The mechanism by which this isomerization event drives the outward rotation of transmembrane helix H6, a hallmark of activated G protein-coupled receptors, is not well established. To address this question, we use solid-state NMR and FTIR spectroscopy to define the orientation and interactions of the retinal chromophore in the active metarhodopsin II intermediate. Here we show that isomerization of the 11-cis retinal chromophore generates strong steric interactions between its ?-ionone ring and transmembrane helices H5 and H6, while deprotonation of its protonated Schiff's base triggers the rearrangement of the hydrogen-bonding network involving residues on H6 and within the second extracellular loop. We integrate these observations with previous structural and functional studies to propose a two-stage mechanism for rhodopsin activation.
Project description:The vertebrate visual photoreceptor rhodopsin (Rho) is a unique G protein-coupled receptor as it utilizes a covalently tethered inverse agonist (11-cis-retinal) as the native ligand. Previously, electrophysiological studies showed that ligand binding of 11-cis-retinal in dark-adapted Rho was essentially irreversible with a half-life estimated to be 420 years, until after thermal isomerization to all-trans-retinal, which then slowly dissociates. This long lifetime of 11-cis-retinal binding was considered to be physiologically important for minimizing background signal (dark noise) of the visual system. However, in vitro biochemical studies on the thermal stability of Rho showed that Rho decays with a half-life on the order of days. In this study, we resolve the discrepancy by measuring the chromophore exchange rate of the bound 11-cis-retinal chromophore with free 9-cis-retinal from Rho in an in vitro phospholipid/detergent bicelle system. We conclude that the thermal decay of Rho primarily proceeds through spontaneous breaking of the covalent linkage between opsin and 11-cis-retinal, which was overlooked in the electrophysiological recording. We estimate that this slow spontaneous release of 11-cis-retinal from Rho should result in 104 to 105 free opsin molecules in a dark-adapted rod cell-a number that is three orders of magnitude higher than previously expected. We also discuss the physiological implications of these findings on the basal activity of opsins and the associated dark noise in the visual system.
Project description:Vertebrate vision is initiated by photoisomerization of the visual pigment chromophore 11-cis-retinal and is maintained by continuous regeneration of this retinoid through a series of reactions termed the retinoid cycle. However, toxic side reaction products, especially those involving reactive aldehyde groups of the photoisomerized product, all-trans-retinal, can cause severe retinal pathology. Here we lowered peak concentrations of free all-trans-retinal with primary amine-containing Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs that did not inhibit chromophore regeneration in mouse models of retinal degeneration. Schiff base adducts between all-trans-retinal and these amines were identified by MS. Adducts were observed in mouse eyes only when an experimental drug protected the retina from degeneration in both short-term and long-term treatment experiments. This study demonstrates a molecular basis of all-trans-retinal-induced retinal pathology and identifies an assemblage of FDA-approved compounds with protective effects against this pathology in a mouse model that shows features of Stargardt's disease and age-related retinal degeneration.
Project description:Rhodopsin is a member of the superfamily of G-protein-coupled receptors. This seven alpha-helix transmembrane protein is the visual pigment of the vertebrate rod photoreceptor cells that mediate dim light vision. In the active binding site of this protein the ligand or chromophore, 11-cis-retinal, is covalently bound via a protonated Schiff base to lysine residue 296. Here we present the complete (1)H and (13)C assignments of the 11-cis-retinylidene chromophore in its ligand-binding site determined with ultra high field magic angle spinning NMR. Native bovine opsin was regenerated with 99% enriched uniformly (13)C-labeled 11-cis-retinal. From the labeled pigment, (13)C carbon chemical shifts could be obtained by using two-dimensional radio frequency-driven dipolar recoupling in a solid-state magic angle spinning homonuclear correlation experiment. The (1)H chemical shifts were assigned by two-dimensional heteronuclear ((1)H-(13)C) dipolar correlation spectroscopy with phase-modulated Lee-Goldburg homonuclear (1)H decoupling applied during the t(1) period. The data indicate nonbonding interactions between the protons of the methyl groups of the retinylidene ionone ring and the protein. These nonbonding interactions are attributed to nearby aromatic acid residues Phe-208, Phe-212, and Trp-265 that are in close contact with, respectively, H-16/H-17 and H-18. Furthermore, binding of the chromophore involves a chiral selection of the ring conformation, resulting in equatorial and axial positions for CH(3)-16 and CH(3)-17.
Project description:The variable composition of the chromophore-binding pocket in visual receptors is essential for vision. The visual phototransduction starts with the cis-trans isomerization of the retinal chromophore upon absorption of photons. Despite sharing the common 11-cis-retinal chromophore, rod and cone photoreceptors possess distinct photochemical properties. Thus, a detailed molecular characterization of the chromophore-binding pocket of these receptors is critical to understanding the differences in the photochemistry of vision between rods and cones. Unlike for rhodopsin (Rh), the crystal structures of cone opsins remain to be determined. To obtain insights into the specific chromophore-protein interactions that govern spectral tuning in human visual pigments, here we harnessed the unique binding properties of 11-cis-6-membered-ring-retinal (11-cis-6mr-retinal) with human blue, green, and red cone opsins. To unravel the specificity of the chromophore-binding pocket of cone opsins, we applied 11-cis-6mr-retinal analog-binding analyses to human blue, green, and red cone opsins. Our results revealed that among the three cone opsins, only blue cone opsin can accommodate the 11-cis-6mr-retinal in its chromophore-binding pocket, resulting in the formation of a synthetic blue pigment (B6mr) that absorbs visible light. A combination of primary sequence alignment, molecular modeling, and mutagenesis experiments revealed the specific amino acid residue 6.48 (Tyr-262 in blue cone opsins and Trp-281 in green and red cone opsins) as a selectivity filter in human cone opsins. Altogether, the results of our study uncover the molecular basis underlying the binding selectivity of 11-cis-6mr-retinal to the cone opsins.