Unfolding pathway and intermolecular interactions of the cytochrome subunit in the bacterial photosynthetic reaction center

Miller, Leanne C, Zhao, Longsheng, Canniffe, Daniel P ORCID: 0000-0002-5022-0437, Martin, David and Liu, Lu-Ning ORCID: 0000-0002-8884-4819
(2020) Unfolding pathway and intermolecular interactions of the cytochrome subunit in the bacterial photosynthetic reaction center. BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-BIOENERGETICS, 1861 (8). 148204-.

Access the full-text of this item by clicking on the Open Access link.


Precise folding of photosynthetic proteins and organization of multicomponent assemblies to form functional entities are fundamental to efficient photosynthetic electron transfer. The bacteriochlorophyll b-producing purple bacterium Blastochloris viridis possesses a simplified photosynthetic apparatus. The light-harvesting (LH) antenna complex surrounds the photosynthetic reaction center (RC) to form the RC-LH1 complex. A non-membranous tetraheme cytochrome (4Hcyt) subunit is anchored at the periplasmic surface of the RC, functioning as the electron donor to transfer electrons from mobile electron carriers to the RC. Here, we use atomic force microscopy (AFM) and single-molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) to probe the long-range organization of the photosynthetic apparatus from Blc. viridis and the unfolding pathway of the 4Hcyt subunit in its native supramolecular assembly with its functional partners. AFM images reveal that the RC-LH1 complexes are densely organized in the photosynthetic membranes, with restricted lateral protein diffusion. Unfolding of the 4Hcyt subunit represents a multi-step process and the unfolding forces of the 4Hcyt α-helices are approximately 121 picoNewtons. Pulling of 4Hcyt could also result in the unfolding of the RC L subunit that binds with the N-terminus of 4Hcyt, suggesting strong interactions between RC subunits. This study provides new insights into the protein folding and interactions of photosynthetic multicomponent complexes, which are essential for their structural and functional integrity to conduct photosynthetic electron flow.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Atomic force microscopy, Cytochrome, Photosynthetic membrane, Protein unfolding, Reaction center, Single-molecule force spectroscopy
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 11 May 2020 09:48
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:52
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2020.148204
Open Access URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3086893