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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mechanism of Cph1 phytochrome assembly from stopped-flow kinetics and circular dichroism.

The kinetics and mechanism of the autocatalytic assembly of holo-Cph1 phytochrome (from Synechocystis) from the apoprotein and the bilin chromophores phycocyanobilin (PCB) and phycoerythrobilin (PEB) were investigated by stopped flow and circular dichroism. At 1:1 stoichiometry, pH 7.9, and 10 degrees C, SVD analysis of the kinetic data for PCB revealed three spectral components involving three transitions with time constants tau(1) approximately 150 ms, tau(2) approximately 2.5 s, and tau(3) approximately 50 s. Tau(1) was associated with a major red shift and transfer of oscillator strength from the Soret region to the 680 nm region. When the sulfhydryl group of cysteine 259 was blocked with iodoacetamide, preventing the formation of a covalent adduct, a noncovalent red-shifted complex (680 nm) was formed with a time constant of 200 ms. Tau(1) could thus be assigned to the formation of a noncovalent complex. The absorption changes during tau(1) are due to the formation of the extended conformation of the linear tetrapyrrole and to its protonation in the binding pocket. From the concentration and pH dependence of the kinetics we obtained a value of 1.5 microM for the K(D) of this noncovalent complex and a value of 8.4 for the pK(a) of the proton donor. The tau(2) component was associated with a blue shift of about 25 nm and was attributed to the formation of the covalent bond (P(r)), accompanied with the loss of the 3-3' double bond to ring A. Tau(3) was due to photoconversion to P(fr). For PEB, which is not photochromic, the formation of the noncovalent complex is faster (tau(1) = 70 ms), but the covalent bond formation is about 80 times slower (tau(2) = 200 s) than with the natural chromophore PCB. The CD spectra of the PCB adduct in the 250-800 nm range show that the chromophore geometries in P(r) and P(fr) are similar to those in plant phytochrome. The opposite rotational strengths of P(r) and P(fr) in the longest wavelength band suggest that the photoisomerization induces a reversal of the chirality. The Cph1 complex with noncovalently bound PCB was still photochromic when cysteine 259 was blocked with IAA or with the bulkier IAF. The covalent linkage to cysteine 259 is thus not required for photoconversion. The CD spectra of the noncovalently bound PCB in P(r)- and P(fr)-like states are qualitatively similar to those of the covalent adducts, suggesting analogous structures in the binding pocket. The noncovalent interactions with the binding pocket are apparently sufficient to hold the chromophore in the appropriate geometry for photoisomerization.[1]


  1. Mechanism of Cph1 phytochrome assembly from stopped-flow kinetics and circular dichroism. Borucki, B., Otto, H., Rottwinkel, G., Hughes, J., Heyn, M.P., Lamparter, T. Biochemistry (2003) [Pubmed]
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