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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jun 6;278(23):20925-33. Epub 2003 Apr 2.

Functional insensitivity of the cytochrome b6f complex to structure changes in the hinge region of the Rieske iron-sulfur protein.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2054,USA.


Structure analysis of the cytochrome bc1 complex in the presence and absence of Qp quinol analog inhibitors implied that a large amplitude motion of the Rieske iron-sulfur protein (ISP) is required to mediate electron transfer from ubiquinol to cytochrome c1. Studies of the functional consequences of mutagenesis of an 8-residue ISP "hinge" region in the bc1 complex showed it to be sensitive to structure perturbation, implying that optimum flexibility and length are required for the large amplitude motion. Mutagenesis-function analysis carried out on the ISP hinge region of the cytochrome b6 f complex using the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 showed the following. (i) Of three petC genes, only that in the petCA operon codes for functional ISP. (ii) The function of the complex was insensitive to changes in the hinge region that increased flexibility, decreased flexibility by substitutions of 4-6 Pro residues, shortened the hinge by a 1-residue deletion, or elongated it by insertion of 4 residues. The latter change increased sensitivity to Qp inhibitors, whereas deletion of 2 residues resulted in a loss of inhibitor sensitivity and a decrease in activity, indicating a minimum hinge length of 7 residues required for optimum binding of ISP at the Qp site. Thus, in contrast to the bc1 complex, the function of the b6 f complex was insensitive to sequence changes in the ISP hinge that altered its length or flexibility. This implies that either the barriers to motion or the amplitude of ISP motion required for function is smaller than in the bc1 complex.

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