Femtosecond structural dynamics drives the trans/cis isomerization in photoactive yellow protein.
ABSTRACT: A variety of organisms have evolved mechanisms to detect and respond to light, in which the response is mediated by protein structural changes after photon absorption. The initial step is often the photoisomerization of a conjugated chromophore. Isomerization occurs on ultrafast time scales and is substantially influenced by the chromophore environment. Here we identify structural changes associated with the earliest steps in the trans-to-cis isomerization of the chromophore in photoactive yellow protein. Femtosecond hard x-ray pulses emitted by the Linac Coherent Light Source were used to conduct time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography on photoactive yellow protein microcrystals over a time range from 100 femtoseconds to 3 picoseconds to determine the structural dynamics of the photoisomerization reaction.
Project description:We have performed excited-state dynamics simulations of a Photoactive Yellow Protein chromophore analogue in water. The results of the simulations demonstrate that in water the chromophore predominantly undergoes single-bond photoisomerization, rather than double-bond photoisomerization. Despite opposite charge distributions in the chromophore, excited-state decay takes place very efficiently from both single- and double-bond twisted minima in water. Radiationless decay is facilitated by ultrafast solvent reorganization, which stabilizes both minima by specific hydrogen bond interactions. Changing the solvent to the slightly more viscous D(2)O leads to an increase of the excited-state lifetime. Together with previous simulations, the present results provide a complete picture of the effect of the protein on the photoisomerization of the chromophore in PYP: the positive guanidinium group of Arg52 favors double-bond isomerization over single-bond isomerization by lowering the barrier for double-bond isomerization, while the hydrogen bonds with Tyr42 and Glu46 enhance deactivation from the double-bond twisted minimum.
Project description:Photoactivation in the Photoactive Yellow Protein, a bacterial blue-light photoreceptor, proceeds via photoisomerization of the double C?C bond in the covalently attached chromophore. Quantum chemistry calculations, however, have suggested that in addition to double-bond photoisomerization, the isolated chromophore and many of its analogues can isomerize around a single C-C bond as well. Whereas double-bond photoisomerization has been observed with X-ray crystallography, experimental evidence of single-bond photoisomerization is currently lacking. Therefore, we have synthesized a chromophore analogue, in which the formal double bond is covalently locked in a cyclopentenone ring, and carried out transient absorption spectroscopy experiments in combination with nonadiabatic molecular dynamics simulations to reveal that the locked chromophore isomerizes around the single bond upon photoactivation. Our work thus provides experimental evidence of single-bond photoisomerization in a photoactive yellow protein chromophore analogue and suggests that photoisomerization is not restricted to the double bonds in conjugated systems. This insight may be useful for designing light-driven molecular switches or motors.
Project description:We have performed ab initio CASSCF, CASPT2, and EOM-CCSD calculations on doubly deprotonated p-coumaric acid (pCA(2-)), the chromophore precursor of the photoactive yellow protein. The results of the calculations demonstrate that pCA(2-) can undergo only photoisomerization of the double bond. In contrast, the chromophore derivative with the acid replaced by a ketone (p-hydroxybenzylidene acetone, pCK(-)) undergoes both single- and double-bond photoisomerization, with the single-bond relaxation channel more favorable than the double-bond channel. The substitution alters the nature of the first excited states and the associated potential energy landscape. The calculations show that the electronic nature of the first two (?,?*) excited states are interchanged in vacuo due to the substitution. In pCK(-), the first excited state is a charge-transfer (CT ?,?*) state, in which the negative charge has migrated from the phenolate ring onto the alkene tail of the chromophore, whereas the locally excited (LE ?,?*) state, in which the excitation involves the orbitals on the phenol ring, lies higher in energy and is the fourth excited state. In pCA(2-), the CT state is higher in energy due the presence of a negative charge on the tail of the chromophore, and the first excited state is the LE state. In isolated pCA(2-), there is a 68 kJ/mol barrier for double-bond photoisomerization on the potential energy surface of this LE state. In water, however, hydrogen bonding with water molecules reduces this barrier to 9 kJ/mol. The barrier separates the local trans minimum near the Franck-Condon region from the global minimum on the excited-state potential energy surface. The lowest energy conical intersection was located near this minimum. In contrast to pCK(-), single-bond isomerization is highly unfavorable both in the LE and CT states of pCA(2-). These results demonstrate that pCA(2-) can only decay efficiently in water and exclusively by double-bond photoisomerization. These findings provide a rationale for the experimental observations that pCA(2-) has both a longer excited-state lifetime and a higher isomerization quantum yield than pCK(-).
Project description:Serial femtosecond crystallography using ultrashort pulses from x-ray free electron lasers (XFELs) enables studies of the light-triggered dynamics of biomolecules. We used microcrystals of photoactive yellow protein (a bacterial blue light photoreceptor) as a model system and obtained high-resolution, time-resolved difference electron density maps of excellent quality with strong features; these allowed the determination of structures of reaction intermediates to a resolution of 1.6 angstroms. Our results open the way to the study of reversible and nonreversible biological reactions on time scales as short as femtoseconds under conditions that maximize the extent of reaction initiation throughout the crystal.
Project description:Determining 3D intermediate structures during the biological action of proteins in real time under ambient conditions is essential for understanding how proteins function. Here we use time-resolved Laue crystallography to extract short-lived intermediate structures and thereby unveil signal transduction in the blue light photoreceptor photoactive yellow protein (PYP) from Halorhodospira halophila. By analyzing a comprehensive set of Laue data during the PYP photocycle (forty-seven time points from one nanosecond to one second), we track all atoms in PYP during its photocycle and directly observe how absorption of a blue light photon by its p-coumaric acid chromophore triggers a reversible photocycle. We identify a complex chemical mechanism characterized by five distinct structural intermediates. Structural changes at the chromophore in the early, red-shifted intermediates are transduced to the exterior of the protein in the late, blue-shifted intermediates through an initial "volume-conserving" isomerization of the chromophore and the progressive disruption of hydrogen bonds between the chromophore and its surrounding binding pocket. These results yield a comprehensive view of the PYP photocycle when seen in the light of previous biophysical studies on the system.
Project description:Trans-to-cis isomerization, the key reaction in photoactive proteins, usually cannot occur through the standard one-bond-flip mechanism. Owing to spatial constraints imposed by a protein environment, isomerization probably proceeds through a volume-conserving mechanism in which highly choreographed atomic motions are expected, the details of which have not yet been observed directly. Here we employ time-resolved X-ray crystallography to visualize structurally the isomerization of the p-coumaric acid chromophore in photoactive yellow protein with a time resolution of 100 ps and a spatial resolution of 1.6 Å. The structure of the earliest intermediate (I(T)) resembles a highly strained transition state in which the torsion angle is located halfway between the trans- and cis-isomers. The reaction trajectory of I(T) bifurcates into two structurally distinct cis intermediates via hula-twist and bicycle-pedal pathways. The bifurcating reaction pathways can be controlled by weakening the hydrogen bond between the chromophore and an adjacent residue through E46Q mutation, which switches off the bicycle-pedal pathway.
Project description:Conformational dynamics in protein functioning covers a wide range of time scales from nanosecond fluctuations around a conformation to the large-amplitude conformational changes of milliseconds or longer. We illustrate a picture of cooperative coupling among such motions of different time scales in a model protein, photoactive yellow protein, by proposing a model that can consistently explain the experimental results on the photocycle of photoactive yellow protein. The model provides a scenario in which the global collective motion induced by the unfolding of the N-terminal domain promotes the loosening of the atomistic packing around the chromophore, which produces the favorable molecular environment for the photoexcited chromophore, thereby stabilizing the partially unfolded intermediate in the photocycle. The proteinquake, the large conformational change triggered by the local structural disturbance, plays a decisive role in controlling the kinetics of functioning.
Project description:The ultrafast excited-state dynamics underlying the receptor state photorecovery is resolved in the M100A mutant of the photoactive yellow protein (PYP) from Halorhodospira halophila. The M100A PYP mutant, with its distinctly slower photocycle than wt PYP, allows isolation of the pB signaling state for study of the photodynamics of the protonated chromophore cis-p-coumaric acid. Transient absorption signals indicate a subpicosecond excited-state proton-transfer reaction in the pB state that results in chromophore deprotonation prior to the cis-trans isomerization required in the photorecovery dynamics of the pG state. Two terminal photoproducts are observed, a blue-absorbing species presumed to be deprotonated trans-p-coumaric acid and an ultraviolet-absorbing protonated photoproduct. These two photoproducts are hypothesized to originate from an equilibrium of open and closed folded forms of the signaling state, I(2) and I(2)'.
Project description:We have studied the structural changes induced by optical excitation of the chromophore in wild-type photoactive yellow protein (PYP) in liquid solution with a combined approach of polarization-sensitive ultrafast infrared spectroscopy and density functional theory calculations. We identify the nuC8-C9 marker modes for solution phase PYP in the P and I0 states, from which we derive that the first intermediate state I0 that appears with a 3 ps time constant can be characterized to have a cis geometry. This is the first unequivocal demonstration that the formation of I0 correlates with the conversion from the trans to the cis state. For the P and I0 states we compare the experimentally measured vibrational band patterns and anisotropies with calculations and find that for both trans and cis configurations the planarity of the chromophore has a strong influence. The C7=C8-(C9=O)-S moiety of the chromophore in the dark P state has a trans geometry with the C=O group slightly tilted out-of-plane, in accordance with the earlier reported structure obtained in an X-ray diffraction study of PYP crystals. In the case of I0, experiment and theory are only in agreement when the C7=C8-(C9=O)-S moiety has a planar configuration. We find that the carboxylic side group of Glu46 that is hydrogen-bonded to the chromophore phenolate oxygen does not alter its orientation on going from the electronic ground P state, via the electronic excited P state to the intermediate I0 state, providing conclusive experimental evidence that the primary stages of PYP photoisomerization involve flipping of the enone thioester linkage without significant relocation of the phenolate moiety.
Project description:Bacteriophytochromes are photoreceptors that regulate various physiological processes induced by photoisomerization in a linear tetrapyrrole chromophore upon red/far-red light absorption. Here, we investigate the photoinduced Pfr-state isomerization mechanism of a bathy bacteriophytochrome from Pseudomonas aeruginosa combining femtosecond-resolved fluorescence and absorption methods. We observed initial coherent oscillation motions in the first 1 ps with low-frequency modes below 60 cm-1, then a bifurcation of the wavepacket with the distinct excited-state lifetimes in a few picoseconds, and finally chromophore-protein coupled ground-state conformational evolution on nanosecond time scales. Together with systematic mutational studies, we revealed the critical roles of hydrogen bonds in tuning the photoisomerization dynamics. These results provide a clear molecular picture of the Pfr-state photoisomerization, a mechanism likely applicable to the other phytochromes.