National Center for
4XB5: Structure of orange carotenoid protein binding canthaxanthin
PHOTOSYNTHESIS. A 12 A carotenoid translocation in a photoswitch associated with cyanobacterial photoprotection
Science (2015) 348 p.1463-1466
Pigment-protein and pigment-pigment interactions are of fundamental importance to the light-harvesting and photoprotective functions essential to oxygenic photosynthesis. The orange carotenoid protein (OCP) functions as both a sensor of light and effector of photoprotective energy dissipation in cyanobacteria. We report the atomic-resolution structure of an active form of the OCP consisting of the N-terminal domain and a single noncovalently bound carotenoid pigment. The crystal structure, combined with additional solution-state structural data, reveals that OCP photoactivation is accompanied by a 12 angstrom translocation of the pigment within the protein and a reconfiguration of carotenoid-protein interactions. Our results identify the origin of the photochromic changes in the OCP triggered by light and reveal the structural determinants required for interaction with the light-harvesting antenna during photoprotection.