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

Real time spectral analysis during phytochrome chromophore and chromoprotein purification.

The plant photoreceptor phytochrome senses light quality and quantity in the red region of the spectrum, directing adaptation and development. The functional holo-protein is a dimeric chromoprotein which is formed by an autoassembly reaction between the translation product and the open chain tetrapyrroles phytochromobilin (PPhiB) or phycocyanobilin (PCB). We are interested in structure/function relationships within the phytochrome molecule, in particular chromophore/protein interaction during the assembly and photoactivation, using IR and NMR spectroscopy. For this we use an automated F/HPLC system running in a darkroom to purify large amounts of protein and chromophore separately. To obtain highly pure PCB chromophore we developed improved extraction and purification methods in which the final step is RPC-18 HPLC. As there are many spectrally only slightly different tetrapyrroles in the extract, the triple-wavelength monitoring offered by the F/HPLC detector was inadequate for distinguishing between PCB and impurities. Furthermore, lambda(max) for the phytochrome Pfr signalling state lies between 705 and 730 nm, beyond the range of the detector. Also, as both holo-protein and chromophore are photoactive, we wished to minimize light exposure of the eluate. We therefore implemented a miniature CCD-based flow UV-vis spectrophotometer using a xenon flash and quartz fiber optics enabling us monitor the entire 250-800 nm spectrum of the eluate to an accuracy of +/-3 x 10(-3)A in real time. The instrumentation described can be added to any chromatographic system, thereby allowing the purification of any molecule to be monitored easily and efficiently.[1]


  1. Real time spectral analysis during phytochrome chromophore and chromoprotein purification. Zeidler, M., Lang, C., Hahn, J., Hughes, J. Int. J. Biol. Macromol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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