The photosynthetic reaction center from the purple bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides has been modified such that the bacteriochlorophyll dimer, when it becomes oxidized after light excitation, is capable of oxidizing tyrosine residues. One factor in this ability is a high oxidation - reduction midpoint potential for the dimer, although the location and protein environment of the tyrosine residue appear to be critical as well. These factors were tested in a series of mutants, each of which contains changes, at residues L131, M160, M197, and M210, that give rise to a bacteriochlorophyll dimer with a midpoint potential of at least 800 mV. The protein environment was altered near tyrosine residues that are either present in the wild type or introduced by mutagenesis, focusing on residues that could act as acceptors for the phenolic proton of the tyrosine upon oxidation. These mutations include Ser M190 to His, which is near Tyr L162, the combination of His M193 to Tyr and Arg M164 to His, which adds a Tyr - His pair, and the combinations of Arg L135 to Tyr with Tyr L164 to His, Arg L135 to Tyr with Tyr L144 to Glu, and Arg L135 to Tyr with Tyr L164 to Phe. Radicals were produced in the mutants by using light to initiate electron transfer. The radicals were trapped by freezing the samples, and the relative populations of the oxidized dimer and tyrosyl radicals were determined by analysis of low-temperature electron paramagnetic resonance spectra. The mutants all showed evidence of tyrosyl radical formation at high pH, and the extent of radical formation at Tyr L135 with pH differed depending on the identity of L144 and L164. The results show that tyrosine residues within approximately 10 A° of the dimer can become oxidized when provided with a suitable protein environment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas