Matching Items (51)

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Investigating Type II Inhibitor Effects in the Heliobacterial Reaction Center

Description

The Heliobacterial Reaction Center (HbRC) is the simplest Type I Reaction Center (RC) known today. However, upon illumination it has been found to produce menaquinol, and this has led to experiments investigating the function of this reduction scheme. The goal

The Heliobacterial Reaction Center (HbRC) is the simplest Type I Reaction Center (RC) known today. However, upon illumination it has been found to produce menaquinol, and this has led to experiments investigating the function of this reduction scheme. The goal of the experiment was to investigate the mechanisms of menaquinol production through the use of Photosystem II (PSII) herbicides that are known to inhibit the QB quinone site in Type II RCs. Seven herbicides were chosen, and out of all of them terbuthylazine showed the greatest effect on the RC in isolated membranes when Transient Absorption Spectroscopy was used. In addition, terbuthylazine decreased menaquinone reduction to menaquinol by ~72%, slightly more than the reported effect of teburtryn (68%)1. In addition, terbuthylazine significantly impacted growth of whole cells under high light more than terbutryn.

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2019-05

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Structural Analysis of the Spinach Rubisco Activase AAA+ Domain by Negative Stain Electron Microscopy

Description

Higher plant Rubisco activase (Rca) is a stromal ATPase responsible for reactivating Rubisco. It is a member of the AAA+ protein superfamily and is thought to assemble into closed-ring hexamers like other AAA+ proteins belonging to the classic clade. Progress

Higher plant Rubisco activase (Rca) is a stromal ATPase responsible for reactivating Rubisco. It is a member of the AAA+ protein superfamily and is thought to assemble into closed-ring hexamers like other AAA+ proteins belonging to the classic clade. Progress towards modeling the interaction between Rca and Rubisco has been slow due to limited structural information on Rca. Previous efforts in the lab were directed towards solving the structure of spinach short-form Rca using X-ray crystallography, given that it had notably high thermostability in the presence of ATP-γS, an ATP analog. However, due to disorder within the crystal lattice, an atomic resolution structure could not be obtained, prompting us to move to negative stain electron microscopy (EM), with our long-term goal being the use of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) for atomic resolution structure determination. Thus far, we have screened different Rca constructs in the presence of ATP-γS, both the full-length β-isoform and truncations containing only the AAA+ domain. Images collected on preparations of the full-length protein were amorphous, whereas images of the AAA+ domain showed well-defined ring-like assemblies under some conditions. Procedural adjustments, such as the use of previously frozen protein samples, rapid dilution, and minimizing thawing time were shown to improve complex assembly. The presence of Mn2+ was also found to improve hexamer formation over Mg2+. Calculated class averages of the AAA+ Rca construct in the presence of ATP-γS indicated a lack of homogeneity in the assemblies, showing both symmetric and asymmetric hexameric rings. To improve structural homogeneity, we tested buffer conditions containing either ADP alone or different ratios of ATP-γS to ADP, though results did not show a significant improvement in homogeneity. Multiple AAA+ domain preparations were evaluated. Because uniform protein assembly is a major requirement for structure solution by cryo-EM, more work needs to be done on screening biochemical conditions to optimize homogeneity.

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2018-05

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An Infusion Approach to Optimizing the Mutagenesis of Rhodobacter sphaeroides

Description

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, algae, and bacteria use light energy to synthesize organic compounds to use as energy. Among these organisms are a kind of purple photosynthetic bacteria called Rhodobacter sphaeroides, a non-sulfur purple bacteria that grows

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, algae, and bacteria use light energy to synthesize organic compounds to use as energy. Among these organisms are a kind of purple photosynthetic bacteria called Rhodobacter sphaeroides, a non-sulfur purple bacteria that grows aerobically in the dark by respiration. There have been many contributions throughout the history of this group of bacteria. Rhodobacter sphaeroides is metabolically very diverse as it has many different ways to obtain energy--aerobic respiration and anoxygenic photosynthesis being just a couple of the ways to do so. This project is part of a larger ongoing project to study different mutant strains of Rhodobacter and the different ways in which carries out electron transfer/photosynthesis. This thesis focused on the improvements made to protocol (standard procedure of site directed mutagenesis) through a more efficient technique known as infusion.

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2014-05

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Characterization of a Polyclonal Antibody Specific for Synechococcus WH8102 Plastoquinol Terminal Oxidase.

Description

Photosynthesis is a critical process that fixes the carbon utilized in cellular respiration. In higher plants, the immutans gene codes for a protein that is both involved in carotenoid biosynthesis and plastoquinol oxidation (Carol et al 1999, Josse et al

Photosynthesis is a critical process that fixes the carbon utilized in cellular respiration. In higher plants, the immutans gene codes for a protein that is both involved in carotenoid biosynthesis and plastoquinol oxidation (Carol et al 1999, Josse et al 2003). This plastoquinol terminal oxidase (PTOX) is of great interest in understanding electron flow in the plastoquinol pool. In order to characterize this PTOX, polyclonal antibodies were developed. Expression of Synechococcus WH8102 PTOX in E. coli provided a useful means to harvest the protein required for antibody production. Once developed, the antibody was tested for limit of concentration, effectiveness in whole cell lysate, and overall specificity. The antibody raised against PTOX was able to detect as low as 10 pg of PTOX in SDS-PAGE, and could detect PTOX extracted from lysed Synechococcus WH8102. The production of this antibody could determine the localization of the PTOX in Synechococcus.

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2014-05

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Engineered Hydrogen Production in Heliobacteria using Clostridial Hydrogenase: A Probe for Understanding Cell Physiology

Description

Heliobacteria are an anaerobic phototroph that require carbon sources such as pyruvate, <br/>lactate, or acetate for growth (Sattley, et. al. 2008). They are known for having one of the <br/>simplest phototrophic systems, the central component of which is a Type

Heliobacteria are an anaerobic phototroph that require carbon sources such as pyruvate, <br/>lactate, or acetate for growth (Sattley, et. al. 2008). They are known for having one of the <br/>simplest phototrophic systems, the central component of which is a Type I reaction center (RC) <br/>that pumps protons to generate the electrochemical gradient for making ATP. Heliobacteria <br/>preform cyclic electron flow (CEF) with the RC in the light but can also grow chemotropically in <br/>the dark. Many anaerobes like heliobacteria, such as other members of the class Clostridia, <br/>possess the capability to produce hydrogen via a hydrogenase enzyme in the cell, as protons can <br/>serve as an electron acceptor in anaerobic metabolism. However, the species of heliobacteria <br/>studied here, H. modesticaldum have been seen to produce hydrogen via their nitrogenase <br/>enzyme but not when this enzyme is inactive. This study aimed to investigate if the reason for <br/>their lack of hydrogen production was due to a lack of an active hydrogenase enzyme, possibly <br/>indicating that the genes required for activity were lost by an H. modesticaldum ancestor. This <br/>was done by introducing genes encoding a clostridial [FeFe] hydrogenase from C. thermocellum<br/>via conjugation and measuring hydrogen production in the transformant cells. Transformant cells <br/>produced hydrogen and cells without the genes did not, meaning that the heliobacteria ferredoxin <br/>was capable of donating electrons to the foreign hydrogenase to make hydrogen. Because the <br/>[FeFe] hydrogenase must receive electrons from the cytosolic ferredoxin, it was hypothesized <br/>that hydrogen production in heliobacteria could be used to probe the redox state of the ferredoxin <br/>pool in conditions of varying electron availability. Results of this study showed that hydrogen <br/>production was affected by electron availability variations due to varying pyruvate <br/>concentrations in the media, light vs dark environment, use acetate as a carbon source, and being <br/>provided external electron donors. Hydrogen production, therefore, was predicted to be an <br/>effective indicator of electron availability in the reduced ferredoxin pool.

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2021-05

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The Effects of the PsaL Calcium Binding on the Oligomeric and Spectroscopic Properties in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

Description

In oxygenic photosynthesis, conversion of solar energy to chemical energy is catalyzed by the<br/>pigment-protein complexes Photosystem II (PSII) and Photosystem I (PSI) embedded within the<br/>thylakoid membrane of photoautotrophs. The function of these pigment-protein complexes are<br/>conserved between all photoautotrophs, however, the

In oxygenic photosynthesis, conversion of solar energy to chemical energy is catalyzed by the<br/>pigment-protein complexes Photosystem II (PSII) and Photosystem I (PSI) embedded within the<br/>thylakoid membrane of photoautotrophs. The function of these pigment-protein complexes are<br/>conserved between all photoautotrophs, however, the oligomeric structure, as well as the<br/>spectroscopic properties of the PSI complex, differ. In early evolving photoautotrophs, PSI<br/>exists in a trimeric organization, but in later evolving species this was lost and PSI exists solely<br/>as a monomer. While the reasons for a change in oligomerization are not fully understood, one<br/>of the 11 subunits within cyanobacterial PSI, PsaL, is thought to be involved in trimerization<br/>through the coordination of a calcium ion in an adjacent monomer. Recently published<br/>structures have demonstrated that PSI complexes are capable of trimerization without<br/>coordinating the calcium ion within PsaL.<br/>5 Here we explore the role the calcium ion plays in both<br/>the oligomeric and spectroscopic properties in PSI isolated from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.

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2021-05

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Application and study of water oxidation catalysts and molecular dyes for solar-fuel production

Description

Developing a system capable of using solar energy to drive the conversion of an abundant and available precursor to fuel would profoundly impact humanity's energy use and thereby the condition of the global ecosystem. Such is the goal of artificial

Developing a system capable of using solar energy to drive the conversion of an abundant and available precursor to fuel would profoundly impact humanity's energy use and thereby the condition of the global ecosystem. Such is the goal of artificial photosynthesis: to convert water to hydrogen using solar radiation as the sole energy input and ideally do so with the use of low cost, abundant materials. Constructing photoelectrochemical cells incorporating photoanodes structurally reminiscent of those used in dye sensitized photovoltaic solar cells presents one approach to establishing an artificial photosynthetic system. The work presented herein describes the production, integration, and study of water oxidation catalysts, molecular dyes, and metal oxide based photoelectrodes carried out in the pursuit of developing solar water splitting systems.

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2013

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The role of protein dielectric relaxation on modulating the electron transfer process in photosynthetic reaction centers

Description

The photosynthetic reaction center is a type of pigment-protein complex found widely in photosynthetic bacteria, algae and higher plants. Its function is to convert the energy of sunlight into a chemical form that can be used to support other life

The photosynthetic reaction center is a type of pigment-protein complex found widely in photosynthetic bacteria, algae and higher plants. Its function is to convert the energy of sunlight into a chemical form that can be used to support other life processes. The high efficiency and structural simplicity make the bacterial reaction center a paradigm for studying electron transfer in biomolecules. This thesis starts with a comparison of the primary electron transfer process in the reaction centers from the Rhodobacter shperoides bacterium and those from its thermophilic homolog, Chloroflexus aurantiacus. Different temperature dependences in the primary electron transfer were found in these two type of reaction centers. Analyses of the structural differences between these two proteins suggested that the excess surface charged amino acids as well as a larger solvent exposure area in the Chloroflexus aurantiacus reaction center could explain the different temperature depenence. The conclusion from this work is that the electrostatic interaction potentially has a major effect on the electron transfer. Inspired by these results, a single point mutant was designed for Rhodobacter shperoides reaction centers by placing an ionizable amino acid in the protein interior to perturb the dielectrics. The ionizable group in the mutation site largely deprotonated in the ground state judging from the cofactor absorption spectra as a function of pH. By contrast, a fast charge recombination assoicated with protein dielectric relaxation was observed in this mutant, suggesting the possibility that dynamic protonation/deprotonation may be taking place during the electron transfer. The fast protein dielectric relaxation occuring in this mutant complicates the electron transfer pathway and reduces the yield of electron transfer to QA. Considering the importance of the protein dielectric environment, efforts have been made in quantifying variations of the internal field during charge separation. An analysis protocol based on the Stark effect of reaction center cofactor spectra during charge separation has been developed to characterize the charge-separated radical field acting on probe chromophores. The field change, monitored by the dynamic Stark shift, correlates with, but is not identical to, the electron transfer kinetics. The dynamic Stark shift results have lead to a dynamic model for the time-dependent dielectric that is complementary to the static dielectric asymmetry observed in past steady state experiments. Taken together, the work in this thesis emphasizes the importance of protein electrostatics and its dielectric response to electron transfer.

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2012

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Dyadic and triadic porphyrin monomers for electropolymerization and pyrazine-containing architectures for solar energy harvesting and mediating photoinduced electron transfer

Description

Natural photosynthesis dedicates specific proteins to achieve the modular division of the essential roles of solar energy harvesting, charge separation and carrier transport within natural photosynthesis. The modern understanding of the fundamental photochemistry by which natural photosynthesis operates is well

Natural photosynthesis dedicates specific proteins to achieve the modular division of the essential roles of solar energy harvesting, charge separation and carrier transport within natural photosynthesis. The modern understanding of the fundamental photochemistry by which natural photosynthesis operates is well advanced and solution state mimics of the key photochemical processes have been reported previously. All of the early events in natural photosynthesis responsible for the conversion of solar energy to electric potential energy occur within proteins and phospholipid membranes that act as scaffolds for arranging the active chromophores. Accordingly, for creating artificial photovoltaic (PV) systems, scaffolds are required to imbue structure to the systems. An approach to incorporating modular design into solid-state organic mimics of the natural system is presented together with how conductive scaffolds can be utilized in organic PV systems. To support the chromophore arrays present within this design and to extract separated charges from within the structure, linear pyrazine-containing molecular ribbons were chosen as candidates for forming conductive linear scaffolds that could be functionalized orthogonally to the linear axis. A series of donor-wire-acceptor (D-W-A) compounds employing porphyrins as the donors and a C60 fullerene adduct as the acceptors have been synthesized for studying the ability of the pyrazine-containing hetero-aromatic wires to mediate photoinduced electron transfer between the porphyrin donor and fullerene acceptor. Appropriate substitutions were made and the necessary model compounds useful for dissecting the complex photochemistry that the series is expected to display were also synthesized. A dye was synthesized using a pyrazine-containing heteroaromatic spacer that features two porphyrin chromophores. The dye dramatically outperforms the control dye featuring the same porphyrin and a simple benzoic acid linker. A novel, highly soluble 6+kDa extended phthalocyanine was also synthesized and exhibits absorption out to 900nm. The extensive functionalization of the extended phthalocyanine core with dodecyl groups enabled purification and characterization of an otherwise insoluble entity. Finally, in the interest of incorporating modular design into plastic solar cells, a series of porphyrin-containing monomers have been synthesized that are intended to form dyadic and triadic molecular-heterojunction polymers with dedicated hole and electron transport pathways during electrochemical polymerization.

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2013

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Knocking out the cytochrome bc complex in Heliobacterium modesticaldum

Description

The heliobacteria, a family of anoxygenic phototrophs, are significant to photosynthesis evolution research, as they possess the simplest known photosynthetic apparatus. Although they are photoheterotrophs in the light, the heliobacteria may also grow chemotrophically via pyruvate metabolism in the absence

The heliobacteria, a family of anoxygenic phototrophs, are significant to photosynthesis evolution research, as they possess the simplest known photosynthetic apparatus. Although they are photoheterotrophs in the light, the heliobacteria may also grow chemotrophically via pyruvate metabolism in the absence of light. In Heliobacterium modesticaldum, the cytochrome bc complex is responsible for oxidizing menaquinol and reducing cytochrome c553 in the electron flow cycle used for phototrophy. However, there is no known electron acceptor for cytochrome c553 other than the photosynthetic reaction center. Therefore, it was hypothesized that the cytochrome bc complex is necessary for phototrophy, but unnecessary for chemotrophic growth in the dark. Under this hypothesis, a mutant of H. modesticaldum lacking the cytochrome bc complex was predicted to be viable, but non-phototrophic. In this project, a two-step method for CRISPR-based genome editing was used in H. modesticaldum to delete the genes encoding the cytochrome bc complex. Genotypic analysis verified the deletion of the petC, B, D, and A genes encoding the catalytic components of complex. Spectroscopic studies revealed that re-reduction of cytochrome c553 after flash-induced photo-oxidation was ~130 to 190 times slower in the ∆petCBDA mutant compared to wildtype, phenotypically confirming the removal of the cytochrome bc complex. The resulting ∆petCBDA mutant was unable to grow phototrophically, instead relying on pyruvate metabolism to grow chemotrophically as does wildtype in the dark.

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2020-05