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Biophys J. 2011 Jun 8;100(11):2801-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2011.02.043.

Photoreactions of aureochrome-1.

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Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Aureochrome is a recently discovered blue light photosensor that controls a light-dependent morphology change. As a photosensor, it has a unique DNA binding domain (bZIP). Although the biological functions of aureochrome have been revealed, the fundamental photochemistry of this protein has not been elucidated. The photochemical reaction dynamics of the LOV (light, oxygen, or voltage) domain of aureochrome-1 (AUREO1-LOV) and the LOV domain with the bZIP domain (AUREO1-ZL) were studied by employing the transient-grating (TG) technique, using size-exclusion chromatography to verify results. For both samples, adduct formation takes place with a time constant of 2.8 μs. Although significant diffusion changes were observed for both AUREO1-LOV and AUREO1-ZL after adduct formation, the origins of these changes were significantly different. The TG signal of AUREO1-LOV was strongly concentration-dependent. From analysis of the signal, it was concluded that AUREO1-LOV exists in equilibrium between the monomer and dimer, and dimerization of the monomer is the main reaction, i.e., irradiation with blue light enhances the strength of the interdomain interaction. On the other hand, the reaction of AUREO1-ZL is independent of concentration, suggesting that an intraprotein conformational change occurs in the bZIP domain with a time constant of 160 ms. These results revealed the different reactions and roles of the two domains; the LOV domain acts as a photosensor, leading to a subsequent conformational change in the bZIP domain, which should change its ability to bind to DNA. A model is proposed that demonstrates how aureochrome uses blue light to control its affinity for DNA.

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