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Lipid Binding to the Carotenoid Binding Site in Photosynthetic Reaction Centers

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journal contribution
posted on 12.10.2011 by Sasmit S. Deshmukh, Kai Tang, László Kálmán
Lipid binding to the carotenoid binding site near the inactive bacteriochlorophyll monomer was probed in the reaction centers of carotenoid-less mutant, R-26 from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Recently, a marked light-induced change of the local dielectric constant in the vicinity of the inactive bacteriochlorophyll monomer was reported in wild type that was attributed to structural changes that ultimately lengthened the lifetime of the charge-separated state by 3 orders of magnitude (Deshmukh, S. S.; Williams, J. C.; Allen, J. P.; Kalman, L. Biochemistry 2011, 50, 340). Here in the R-26 reaction centers, the combination of light-induced structural changes and lipid binding resulted in a 5 orders of magnitude increase in the lifetime of the charge-separated state involving the oxidized dimer and the reduced primary quinone in proteoliposomes. Only saturated phospholipids with fatty acid chains of 12 and 14 carbon atoms long were bound successfully at 8 °C by cooling the reaction center protein slowly from room temperature. In addition to reporting a dramatic increase of the lifetime of the charge-separated state at physiologically relevant temperatures, this study reveals a novel lipid binding site in photosynthetic reaction center. These results shed light on a new potential application of the reaction center in energy storage as a light-driven biocapacitor since the charges separated by ∼30 Å in a low-dielectric medium can be prevented from recombination for hours.