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Structural Basis for the Photochemistry of α-Phycoerythrocyanin,

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journal contribution
posted on 16.01.2007, 00:00 by Marius Schmidt, Anamika Patel, Yi Zhao, Wolfgang Reuter
Phycobiliproteins and phytochromes are light-harvesting and light-sensing proteins containing linear tetrapyrroles, so-called bile chromophores. The chromophores in certain biliproteins, including the phytochromes, isomerize reversibly from a stable Z-configuration to a stable E-configuration when irradiated with light of the appropriate wavelength. Here, we report the crystal structure of α-phycoerythrocyanin with its chromophore in the E-configuration, compare it with the Z-configuration found in trimeric phycoerythrocyanin, and reveal the structural bases of the isomerization. The geometric changes of the chromophore account for the large spectral shift, which characterizes the overall transition. Interactions of the chromophore A and D pyrrole rings with flexible protein moieties are required for the formation and stabilization of the isomers. We predict that the results will hold for all photoactive biliproteins.