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Structure. 1994 Oct 15;2(10):925-36.

Structure of the photosynthetic reaction centre from Rhodobacter sphaeroides at 2.65 A resolution: cofactors and protein-cofactor interactions.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysik, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.



Photosynthetic reaction centres (RCs) catalyze light-driven electron, transport across photosynthetic membranes. The photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter, sphaeroides is often used for studies of RCs, and three groups have determined the structure of its reaction centre. There are discrepancies between these structures, however, and to resolve these we have determined the structure to higher resolution than before, using a new crystal form.


The new structure provides a more detailed description of the Rb. sphaeroides RC, and allows us to compare it with the structure of the RC from Rhodopseudomonas viridis. We find no evidence to support most of the published differences in cofactor binding between the RCs from Rps. viridis and Rb. sphaeroides. Generally, the mode of cofactor binding is conserved, particularly along the electron transfer pathway. Substantial differences are only found at ring V of one bacteriochlorophyll of the 'special pair' and for the secondary quinone, QB. A water chain with a length of about 23 A including 14 water molecules extends from the QB to the cytoplasmic side of the RC.


The cofactor arrangement and the mode of binding to the protein seem to be very similar among the non-sulphur bacterial photosynthetic RCs. The functional role of the displaced QB molecule, which might be present as quinol, rather than quinone, is not yet clear. The newly discovered water chain to the QB binding site suggests a pathway for the protonation of the secondary quinone QB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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