Matching Items (17)

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Recombinant electron donors and acceptors to and from reaction center particles, and light dependent menaquinone reduction in isolated membranes of Heliobacterium modesticaldum

Description

The Heliobacterial reaction center (HbRC) is generally regarded as the most primitive photosynthetic reaction center (RC) known. Even if the HbRC is structurally and functionally simple compared to higher plants,

The Heliobacterial reaction center (HbRC) is generally regarded as the most primitive photosynthetic reaction center (RC) known. Even if the HbRC is structurally and functionally simple compared to higher plants, the mechanisms of energy transduction preceding, inside the core, and from the RC are not totally established. Elucidating these structures and mechanisms are paramount to determining where the HbRC is in the grand scheme of RC evolution. In this work, the function and properties of the solubilized cyt c553, PetJ, were investigated, as well as the role HbRC localized menaquinone plays in light-induced electron transfer, and the interaction of the Nif-specific ferredoxin FdxB with reaction center particles devoid of bound FA/FB proteins. In chapter 2, I successfully express and purify a soluble version of PetJ that functions as a temperature dependent electron donor to P800+. Recombinant PetJ retains the spectroscopic characteristics of membrane-bound PetJ. The kinetics were characteristic of a bimolecular reaction with a second order rate of 1.53 x 104 M-1s-1 at room temperature and a calculated activation energy of 91 kJ/mol. In chapter 4, I use reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to detect the light-induced generation of Menaquinol-9 (MQH2) in isolated heliobacterial membranes. This process is dependent on laser power, pH, temperature, and can be modified by the presence of the artificial electron acceptor benzyl viologen (BV) and the inhibitors azoxystrobin and terbutryn. The addition of the bc complex inhibitor azoxystrobin decreases the ratio of MQ to MQH2. This indicates competition between the HbRC and the bc complex, and hints toward a truncated cyclic electron flow pathway. In chapter 5, the Nif-Specific ferredoxin FdxB was recombinantly expressed and shown to oxidize the terminal cofactor in the HbRC, FX-, in a concentration-dependent manner. This work indicates the HbRC may be able to reduce a wide variety of electron acceptors that may be involved in specific metabolic processes.

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  • 2015

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Design and synthesis of organic molecular models of artificial photosynthetic reaction center

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A clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels is solar energy. For efficient use of solar energy to be realized, artificial systems that can effectively capture and convert sunlight into

A clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels is solar energy. For efficient use of solar energy to be realized, artificial systems that can effectively capture and convert sunlight into a usable form of energy have to be developed. In natural photosynthesis, antenna chlorophylls and carotenoids capture sunlight and transfer the resulting excitation energy to the photosynthetic reaction center (PRC). Small reorganization energy, λ and well-balanced electronic coupling between donors and acceptors in the PRC favor formation of a highly efficient charge-separated (CS) state. By covalently linking electron/energy donors to acceptors, organic molecular dyads and triads that mimic natural photosynthesis were synthesized and studied. Peripherally linked free base phthalocyanine (Pc)-fullerene (C60) and a zinc (Zn) phthalocyanine-C60 dyads were synthesized. Photoexcitation of the Pc moiety resulted in singlet-singlet energy transfer to the attached C60, followed by electron transfer. The lifetime of the CS state was 94 ps. Linking C60 axially to silicon (Si) Pc, a lifetime of the CS state of 4.5 ns was realized. The exceptionally long-lived CS state of the SiPc-C60 dyad qualifies it for applications in solar energy conversion devices. A secondary electron donor was linked to the dyad to obtain a carotenoid (Car)-SiPc-C60 triad and ferrocene (Fc)-SiPc-C60 triad. Excitation of the SiPc moiety resulted in fast electron transfer from the Car or Fc secondary electron donors to the C60. The lifetime of the CS state was 17 ps and 1.2 ps in Car-SiPc-C60 and Fc-SiPc-C60, respectively. In Chapter 3, an efficient synthetic route that yielded regioselective oxidative porphyrin dimerization is presented. Using Cu2+ as the oxidant, meso-β doubly-connected fused porphyrin dimers were obtained in very high yields. Removal of the copper from the macrocycle affords a free base porphyrin dimer. This allows for exchange of metals and provides a route to a wider range of metallporphyrin dimers. In Chapter 4, the development of an efficient and an expedient route to bacteriopurpurin synthesis is discussed. Meso-10,20- diformylation of porphyrin was achieved and one-pot porphyrin diacrylate synthesis and cyclization to afford bacteriopurpurin was realized. The bacteriopurpurin had a reduction potential of - 0.85 V vs SCE and λmax, 845 nm.

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  • 2014

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Synthesis and application of porphyrin, phthalocyanine and perylene chromophores for solar energy conversion

Description

Photosynthesis, one of the most important processes in nature, has provided an energy basis for nearly all life on Earth, as well as the fossil fuels we use today to

Photosynthesis, one of the most important processes in nature, has provided an energy basis for nearly all life on Earth, as well as the fossil fuels we use today to power modern society. This research aims to mimic the photosynthetic process of converting incident solar energy into chemical potential energy in the form of a fuel via systems capable of carrying out photo-induced electron transfer to drive the production of hydrogen from water. Herein is detailed progress in using photo-induced stepwise electron transfer to drive the oxidation of water and reduction of protons to hydrogen. In the design, use of more blue absorbing porphyrin dyes to generate high-potential intermediates for oxidizing water and more red absorbing phthalocyanine dyes for forming the low potential charge needed for the production of hydrogen have been utilized. For investigating water oxidation at the photoanode, high potential porphyrins such as, bis-pyridyl porphyrins and pentafluorophenyl porphyrins have been synthesized and experiments have aimed at the co-immobilization of this dye with an IrO2-nH2O catalyst on TiO2. To drive the cathodic reaction of the water splitting photoelectrochemical cell, utilization of silicon octabutoxy-phthalocyanines have been explored, as they offer good absorption in the red to near infrared, coupled with low potential photo-excited states. Axially and peripherally substituted phthalocyanines bearing carboxylic anchoring groups for the immobilization on semiconductors such as TiO2 has been investigated. Ultimately, this work should culminate in a photoelectrochemical cell capable of splitting water to oxygen and hydrogen with the only energy input from light. A series of perylene dyes bearing multiple semi-conducting metal oxide anchoring groups have been synthesized and studied. Results have shown interfacial electron transfer between these perylenes and TiO2 nanoparticles encapsulated within reverse micelles and naked nanoparticles. The binding process was followed by monitoring the hypsochromic shift of the dye absorption spectra over time. Photoinduced electron transfer from the singlet excited state of the perylenes to the TiO2 conduction band is indicated by emission quenching of the TiO2-bound form of the dyes and confirmed by transient absorption measurements of the radical cation of the dyes and free carriers (injected electrons) in the TiO2.

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  • 2013

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DNA tetrahedra as structural frameworks for catalytic centers

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The need for a renewable and sustainable light-driven energy source is the motivation for this work, which utilizes a challenging, yet practical and attainable bio-inspired approach to develop an artificial

The need for a renewable and sustainable light-driven energy source is the motivation for this work, which utilizes a challenging, yet practical and attainable bio-inspired approach to develop an artificial oxygen evolving complex, which builds upon the principles of the natural water splitting mechanism in oxygenic photosynthesis. In this work, a stable framework consisting of a three-dimensional DNA tetrahedron has been used for the design of a bio-mimic of the Oxygen-Evolving Complex (OEC) found in natural Photosystem II (PSII). PSII is a large protein complex that evolves all the oxygen in the atmosphere, but it cannot be used directly in artificial systems, as the light reactions lead to damage of one of Photosystem II's core proteins, D1, which has to be replaced every half hour in the presence of sunlight. The final goal of the project aims to build the catalytic center of the OEC, including the Mn4CaCl metal cluster and its protein environment in the stable DNA framework of a tetrahedron, which can subsequently be connected to a photo-stable artificial reaction center that performs light-induced charge separation. Regions of the peptide sequences containing Mn4CaCl ligation sites are implemented in the design of the aOEC (artificial oxygen-evolving complex) and are attached to sites within the tetrahedron to facilitate assembly. Crystals of the tetrahedron have been obtained, and X-ray crystallography has been used for characterization. As a proof of concept, metal-binding peptides have been coupled to the DNA tetrahedron which allowed metal-containing porphyrins, specifically Fe(III) meso-Tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl) porphyrin chloride, to be encapsulated inside the DNA-tetrahedron. The porphyrins were successfully assembled inside the tetrahedron through coordination of two terminal histidines from the orthogonally oriented peptides covalently attached to the DNA. The assembly has been characterized using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR), optical spectroscopy, Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), and x-ray crystallography. The results reveal that the spin state of the metal, iron (III), switches during assembly from the high-spin state to low-spin state.

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  • 2012

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Life of photosynthetic complexes in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

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The cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 performs oxygenic photosynthesis. Light energy conversion in photosynthesis takes place in photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII) that contain chlorophyll, which absorbs light

The cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 performs oxygenic photosynthesis. Light energy conversion in photosynthesis takes place in photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII) that contain chlorophyll, which absorbs light energy that is utilized as a driving force for photosynthesis. However, excess light energy may lead to formation of reactive oxygen species that cause damage to photosynthetic complexes, which subsequently need repair or replacement. To gain insight in the degradation/biogenesis dynamics of the photosystems, the lifetimes of photosynthetic proteins and chlorophyll were determined by a combined stable-isotope (15N) and mass spectrometry method. The lifetimes of PSII and PSI proteins ranged from 1-33 and 30-75 hours, respectively. Interestingly, chlorophyll had longer lifetimes than the chlorophyll-binding proteins in these photosystems. Therefore, photosynthetic proteins turn over and are replaced independently from each other, and chlorophyll is recycled from the damaged chlorophyll-binding proteins. In Synechocystis, there are five small Cab-like proteins (SCPs: ScpA-E) that share chlorophyll a/b-binding motifs with LHC proteins in plants. SCPs appear to transiently bind chlorophyll and to regulate chlorophyll biosynthesis. In this study, the association of ScpB, ScpC, and ScpD with damaged and repaired PSII was demonstrated. Moreover, in a mutant lacking SCPs, most PSII protein lifetimes were unaffected but the lifetime of chlorophyll was decreased, and one of the nascent PSII complexes was missing. SCPs appear to bind PSII chlorophyll while PSII is repaired, and SCPs stabilize nascent PSII complexes. Furthermore, aminolevulinic acid biosynthesis, an early step of chlorophyll biosynthesis, was impaired in the absence of SCPs, so that the amount of chlorophyll in the cells was reduced. Finally, a deletion mutation was introduced into the sll1906 gene, encoding a member of the putative bacteriochlorophyll delivery (BCD) protein family. The Sll1906 sequence contains possible chlorophyll-binding sites, and its homolog in purple bacteria functions in proper assembly of light-harvesting complexes. However, the sll1906 deletion did not affect chlorophyll degradation/biosynthesis and photosystem assembly. Other (parallel) pathways may exist that may fully compensate for the lack of Sll1906. This study has highlighted the dynamics of photosynthetic complexes in their biogenesis and turnover and the coordination between synthesis of chlorophyll and photosynthetic proteins.

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  • 2011

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

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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

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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Characterization of the electron acceptors of the type-I photosynthetic reaction center of Heliobacterium modesticaldum

Description

The heliobacterial reaction center (HbRC) is widely considered the simplest and most primitive photosynthetic reaction center (RC) still in existence. Despite the simplicity of the HbRC, many aspects of the

The heliobacterial reaction center (HbRC) is widely considered the simplest and most primitive photosynthetic reaction center (RC) still in existence. Despite the simplicity of the HbRC, many aspects of the electron transfer mechanism remain unknown or under debate. Improving our understanding of the structure and function of the HbRC is important in determining its role in the evolution of photosynthetic RCs. In this work, the function and properties of the iron-sulfur cluster FX and quinones of the HbRC were investigated, as these are the characteristic terminal electron acceptors used by Type-I and Type-II RCs, respectively. In Chapter 3, I develop a system to directly detect quinone double reduction activity using reverse-phase high pressure liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC), showing that Photosystem I (PSI) can reduce PQ to PQH2. In Chapter 4, I use RP-HPLC to characterize the HbRC, showing a surprisingly small antenna size and confirming the presence of menaquinone (MQ) in the isolated HbRC. The terminal electron acceptor FX was characterized spectroscopically and electrochemically in Chapter 5. I used three new systems to reduce FX in the HbRC, using EPR to confirm a S=3/2 ground-state for the reduced cluster. The midpoint potential of FX determined through thin film voltammetry was -372 mV, showing the cluster is much less reducing than previously expected. In Chapter 7, I show light-driven reduction of menaquinone in heliobacterial membrane samples using only mild chemical reductants. Finally, I discuss the evolutionary implications of these findings in Chapter 7.

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  • 2012

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Compounds for investigating photosynthetic pathways and solar energy conversion

Description

Humanity’s demand for energy is increasing exponentially and the dependence on fossil fuels is both unsustainable and detrimental to the environment. To provide a solution to the impending energy crisis,

Humanity’s demand for energy is increasing exponentially and the dependence on fossil fuels is both unsustainable and detrimental to the environment. To provide a solution to the impending energy crisis, it is reasonable to look toward utilizing solar energy, which is abundant and renewable. One approach to harvesting solar irradiation for fuel purposes is through mimicking the processes of natural photosynthesis in an artificial design to use sunlight and water to store energy in chemical bonds for later use. Thus, in order to design an efficient energy conversion device, the underlying processes of the natural system must be understood. An artificial photosynthetic device has many components and each can be optimized separately. This work deals with the design, construction and study of some of those components. The first chapter provides an introduction to this work. The second chapter shows a proof of concept for a water splitting dye sensitized photoelectrochemical cell followed by the presentation of a new p-type semiconductor, the design of a modular cluster binding protein that can be used for incorporating catalysts, and a new anchoring group for semiconducting oxides with high electron injection efficiency. The third chapter investigates the role of electronic coupling and thermodynamics for photoprotection in artificial systems by triplet-triplet energy transfer from tetrapyrroles to carotenoids. The fourth chapter describes a mimic of the proton-coupled electron transfer in photosystem II and confirms that in the artificial system a concerted mechanism operates. In the fifth chapter, a microbial system is designed to work in tandem with a photovoltaic device to produce high energy fuels. A variety of quinone redox mediators have been synthesized to shuttle electrons from an electron donor to the microbial system. Lastly, the synthesis of a variety of photosensitizers is detailed for possible future use in artificial systems. The results of this work helps with the understanding of the processes of natural photosynthesis and suggests ways to design artificial photosynthetic devices that can contribute to solving the renewable energy challenge.

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  • 2015

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Mutations that affect the bidirectional electron transfer in photosystem I

Description

Photosystem I (PSI) is a multi-subunit, pigment-protein complex that catalyzes light-driven electron transfer (ET) in its bi-branched reaction center (RC). Recently it was suggested that the initial charge separation (CS)

Photosystem I (PSI) is a multi-subunit, pigment-protein complex that catalyzes light-driven electron transfer (ET) in its bi-branched reaction center (RC). Recently it was suggested that the initial charge separation (CS) event can take place independently within each ec2/ec3 chlorophyll pair. In order to improve our understanding of this phenomenon, we have generated new mutations in the PsaA and PsaB subunits near the electron transfer cofactor 2 (ec2 chlorophyll). PsaA-Asn604 accepts a hydrogen bond from the water molecule that is the axial ligand of ec2B and the case is similar for PsaB-Asn591 and ec2A. The second set of targeted sites was PsaA-Ala684 and PsaB-Ala664, whose methyl groups are present near ec2A and ec2B, respectively. We generated a number of mutants by targeting the selected protein residues. These mutations were expected to alter the energetics of the primary charge separation event.

The PsaA-A684N mutants exhibited increased ET on the B-branch as compared to the A-branch in both in vivo and in vitro conditions. The transient electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy revealed the formation of increased B-side radical pair (RP) at ambient and cryogenic temperatures. The ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy and fluorescence decay measurement of the PsaA-A684N and PsaB-A664N showed a slight deceleration of energy trapping. Thus making mutations near ec2 on each branch resulted into modulation of the charge separation process. In the second set of mutants, where ec2 cofactor was target by substitution of PsaA-Asn604 or PsaB-Asn591 to other amino acids, a drop in energy trapping was observed. The quantum yield of CS decreases in Asn to Leu and His mutants on the respective branch. The P700 triplet state was not observed at room and cryogenic temperature for these mutants, nor was a rapid decay of P700+ in the nanosecond timescale, indicating that the mutations do not cause a blockage of electron transfer from the ec3 Chl. Time-resolved fluorescence results showed a decrease in the lifetime of the energy trapping. We interpret this decrease in lifetime as a new channel of excitation energy decay, in which the untrapped energy dissipates as heat through a fast internal conversion process. Thus, a variety of spectroscopic measurements of PSI with point mutations near the ec2 cofactor further support that the ec2 cofactor is involved in energy trapping process.

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  • 2014

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Structure and function of the homodimeric reaction center, and hydrogen production, in Heliobacterium modesticaldum

Description

The evolution of photosynthesis caused the oxygen-rich atmosphere in which we thrive today. Although the reaction centers involved in oxygenic photosynthesis probably evolved from a protein like the reaction centers

The evolution of photosynthesis caused the oxygen-rich atmosphere in which we thrive today. Although the reaction centers involved in oxygenic photosynthesis probably evolved from a protein like the reaction centers in modern anoxygenic photosynthesis, modern anoxygenic reaction centers are poorly understood. One such anaerobic reaction center is found in Heliobacterium modesticaldum. Here, the photosynthetic properties of H. modesticaldum are investigated, especially as they pertain to its unique photochemical reaction center.

The first part of this dissertation describes the optimization of the previously established protocol for the H. modesticaldum reaction center isolation. Subsequently, electron transfer is characterized by ultrafast spectroscopy; the primary electron acceptor, a chlorophyll a derivative, is reduced in ~25 ps, and forward electron transfer occurs directly to a 4Fe-4S cluster in ~650 ps without the requirement for a quinone intermediate. A 2.2-angstrom resolution X-ray crystal structure of the homodimeric heliobacterial reaction center is solved, which is the first ever homodimeric reaction center structure to be solved, and is discussed as it pertains to the structure-function relationship in energy and electron transfer. The structure has a transmembrane helix arrangement similar to that of Photosystem I, but differences in antenna and electron transfer cofactor positions explain variations in biophysical comparisons. The structure is then compared with other reaction centers to infer evolutionary hypotheses suggesting that the ancestor to all modern reaction centers could reduce mobile quinones, and that Photosystem I added lower energy cofactors to its electron transfer chain to avoid the formation of singlet oxygen.

In the second part of this dissertation, hydrogen production rates of H. modesticaldum are quantified in multiple conditions. Hydrogen production only occurs in cells grown without ammonia, and is further increased by removal of N2. These results are used to propose a scheme that summarizes the hydrogen-production metabolism of H. modesticaldum, in which electrons from pyruvate oxidation are shuttled through an electron transport pathway including the reaction center, ultimately reducing nitrogenase. In conjunction, electron microscopy images of H. modesticaldum are shown, which confirm that extended membrane systems are not exhibited by heliobacteria.

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  • 2017