Author(s): Xiong J, Subramaniam S, Govindjee
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Abstract A three-dimensional model of the photosystem II (PSII) reaction center from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 was generated based on homology with the anoxygenic purple bacterial photosynthetic reaction centers of Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Rhodopseudomonas viridis, for which the X-ray crystallographic structures are available. The model was constructed with an alignment of D1 and D2 sequences with the L and M subunits of the bacterial reaction center, respectively, and by using as a scaffold the structurally conserved regions (SCRs) from bacterial templates. The structurally variant regions were built using a novel sequence-specific approach of searching for the best-matched protein segments in the Protein Data Bank with the "basic local alignment search tool" (Altschul SF, Gish W, Miller W, Myers EW, Lipman DJ, 1990, J Mol Biol 215:403-410), and imposing the matching conformational preference on the corresponding D1 and D2 regions. The structure thus obtained was refined by energy minimization. The modeled D1 and D2 proteins contain five transmembrane alpha-helices each, with cofactors (4 chlorophylls, 2 pheophytins, 2 plastoquinones, and a non-heme iron) essential for PSII primary photochemistry embedded in them. A beta-carotene, considered important for PSII photoprotection, was also included in the model. Four different possible conformations of the primary electron donor P680 chlorophylls were proposed, one based on the homology with the bacterial template and the other three on existing experimental suggestions in literature. The P680 conformation based on homology was preferred because it has the lowest energy. Redox active tyrosine residues important for P680+ reduction as well as residues important for PSII cofactor binding were analyzed. Residues involved in interprotein interactions in the model were also identified. Herbicide 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea (DCMU) was also modeled in the plastoquinone QB binding niche using the structural information available from a DCMU-binding bacterial reaction center. A bicarbonate anion, known to play a role in PSII, but not in anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria, was modeled in the non-heme iron site, providing a bidentate ligand to the iron. By modifying the previous hypothesis of Blubaugh and Govindjee (1988, Photosyn Res 19:85-128), we modeled a second bicarbonate and a water molecule in the QB site and we proposed a hypothesis to explain the mechanism of QB protonation mediated by bicarbonate and water. The bicarbonate, stabilized by D1-R257, donates a proton to QB2- through the intermediate of D1-H252; and a water molecule donates another proton to QB2-. Based on the discovery of a "water transport channel" in the bacterial reaction center, an analogous channel for transporting water and bicarbonate is proposed in our PSII model. The putative channel appears to be primarily positively charged near QB and the non-heme iron, in contrast to the polarity distribution in the bacterial water transport channel. The constructed model has been found to be consistent with most existing data.
This article was published in Protein Sci
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology