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Biochemistry. 2007 Feb 6;46(5):1176-82.

Monitoring the pH dependence of IR carboxylic acid signals upon Q(B)- formation in the Glu-L212 --> Asp/Asp-L213 --> Glu swap mutant reaction center from Rhodobacter sphaeroides.

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Service de Bioénergetique, CEA-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.


In the photosynthetic reaction center (RC) from the purple bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides, proton-coupled electron-transfer reactions occur at the secondary quinone (QB) site. Involved in the proton uptake steps are carboxylic acids, which have characteristic infrared vibrations in the 1770-1700 cm-1 spectral range that are sensitive to 1H/2H isotopic exchange. With respect to the native RC, a novel protonation pattern for carboxylic acids upon QB photoreduction has been identified in the Glu-L212 --> Asp/Asp-L213 --> Glu mutant RC using light-induced FTIR difference spectroscopy (Nabedryk, E., Breton, J., Okamura, M. Y., and Paddock, M. L. (2004) Biochemistry 43, 7236-7243). These carboxylic acids are structurally close and have been implicated in proton transfer to reduced QB. In this work, we extend previous studies by measuring the pH dependence of the QB-/QB FTIR difference spectra of the mutant in 1H2O and 2H2O. Large pH dependent changes were observed in the 1770-1700 cm-1 spectral range between pH 8 and pH 4. The IR fingerprints of the protonating carboxylic acids upon QB- formation were obtained from the calculated double-difference spectra 1H2O minus 2H2O. These IR fingerprints are specific for each pH, indicative of the contribution of different titrating groups. In particular, the 1752 cm-1 signal indicates that Glu-L213 protonates upon QB- formation at pH >or= 5, whereas the 1746 cm-1 signal indicates protonation of Asp-L212 even at pH 4. An unidentified carboxylic acid absorbing at approximately 1765 cm-1 could be the proton donor between pH 8 and 5. The observation that in the swap mutant there are several uniquely behaving carboxylic acids shows that electrostatic interactions occurring between them are sufficiently modified from the native RC to reveal their IR signatures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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