Local electric field changes during thephotoconversion of the bathy phytochrome Agp2
Phytochromes switch between a physiologically inactive and active state via a light-induced reaction cascade, which is initiated by isomerization of the tetrapyrrole chromophore and leads to the functionally relevant secondary structure transition of a protein segment (tongue). Although details of the underlying cause–effect relationships are not known, electrostatic fields are likely to play a crucial role in coupling chromophores and protein structural changes. Here, we studied local electric field changes during the photoconversion of the dark state Pfr to the photoactivated state Pr of the bathy phytochrome Agp2. Substituting Tyr165 and Phe192 in the chromophore pocket by para-cyanophenylalanine (pCNF), we monitored the respective nitrile stretching modes in the various states of photoconversion (vibrational Stark effect). Resonance Raman and IR spectroscopic analyses revealed that both pCNF-substituted variants undergo the same photoinduced structural changes as wild-type Agp2. Based on a structural model for the Pfr state of F192pCNF, a molecular mechanical–quantum mechanical approach was employed to calculate the electric field at the nitrile group and the respective stretching frequency, in excellent agreement with the experiment. These calculations serve as a reference for determining the electric field changes in the photoinduced states of F192pCNF. Unlike F192pCNF, the nitrile group in Y165pCNF is strongly hydrogen bonded such that the theoretical approach is not applicable. However, in both variants, the largest changes of the nitrile stretching modes occur in the last step of the photoconversion, supporting the view that the proton-coupled restructuring of the tongue is accompanied by a change of the electric field.
Published in: Biochemistry, 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00426, American Chemical Society (ACS)