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