[Back to Issue 10 ToC] [Back to Journal Contents] [Back to Biochemistry (Moscow) Home page]

On the Mechanism of Selective Chemical Exchange of Bacteriopheophytins in the Reaction Centers of Rhodobacter sphaeroides R-26

Alexey A. Zabelin1,a*, Vyacheslav B. Kovalev1, and Anatoly Ya. Shkuropatov1

1Institute of Basic Biological Problems, Pushchino Scientific Center for Biological Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, 142290 Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received June 16, 2022; Revised July 11, 2022; Accepted August 10, 2022
To elucidate the mechanism of site-selective chemical replacement of chromophores in the reaction centers (RCs) of photosynthetic bacteria by external pigments, we investigated how the efficiency of incorporation of plant pheophytin a (Pheo) into the binding sites for bacteriopheophytin a molecules (BPheo) in the isolated Rhodobacter sphaeroides R-26 RCs depended on the incubation medium temperature, Pheo aggregation state, and the presence of organic solvent (acetone). When Pheo was in a form of monomers in free detergent micelles in a water–detergent incubation medium, the degree of selective replacement of photochemically inactive BPheo HB molecules upon incubation of the RC/Pheo mixture at 5°C was ~15%. The exchange efficiency increased to 40% upon incubation at 25°C and reached 100% at the same temperature when 10% acetone was added to the incubation medium. At both 5 and 25°C, the degree of pigment exchange increased approximately twice, when a mixture of Pheo monomers and dimers in the presence of 10% acetone was used as the incubation medium. The removal of acetone from this medium with the preservation of pigment forms led to a significant decrease in the efficiency of Pheo incorporation. The effect of acetone on the pigment exchange was also observed at an elevated incubation temperature (43.5°C), when functionally active BPheo HA molecules were partially replaced. The results are discussed in terms of the mechanism according to which (i) the temperature-dependent internal movements of the RC protein facilitate the release of the BPheo molecule from the binding site with simultaneous insertion of the Pheo molecule into the same site in a coupled process, (ii) the role of temperature largely depends on the steric accessibility of binding pockets in the RC protein, (iii) the incorporation of Pheo occurs from a pool of monomeric molecules included in the RC-detergent micelles, and (iv) the presence of acetone in the incubation medium facilitates the exchange of Pheo monomers between micelles in the solution and the detergent belt of the RC complex.
KEY WORDS: reaction center, (bacterio)pheophytin, binding site, chemical exchange, detergent micelles, Rhodobacter sphaeroides

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297922100054