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Structure of the Chromophore Binding Pocket in the Pr State of Plant Phytochrome phyA
Citation key Mroginski2011
Author Mroginski, Maria Andrea and Kaminski, Steve and von Stetten, David and Ringsdorf, Simone and Gaertner, Wolfgang and Essen, Lars-Oliver and Hildebrandt, Peter
Pages 1220–1231
Year 2011
Journal Journal Of Physical Chemistry B
Volume 115
Number 5
Abstract A homology structural model was generated for plant phytochrome phyA utilizing the crystal structure of the sensory module of cyanobacterial phytochrome Cphl (Cph1 Delta 2). As chromophores, either the native phytochromobilin cofactor (P Phi B) or phycocyanobilin (PCB), the natural cofactor in Cphl, was incorporated. These homology models were further optimized by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations revealing a satisfying overall agreement with the crystal phyA result from a restructuring of the small helical segment alpha(7) that leads to displacements of a few amino acids away from the cofactor. This repositioning of residues also include aspartate 218 such that, instead of its carbonyl function as in Cph1 Delta 2, an additional water molecule forms hydrogen bonds with the ring B and C NH groups. To validate the phyA structural model in the chromophore binding pocket, Raman spectra of the cofactor were calculated by means of the quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) hybrid methodology and compared with the experimental resonance Raman (RR) spectra. The satisfactory overall agreement between calculated and experimental spectra is taken as an indication for the good quality of the structural model. Moreover, the methine bridge stretching modes and the effects of isotopic labeling at selected positions of the chromophore are very well reproduced to allow confirming even details of the methine bridge geometry as predicted by the homology model. Specifically, it is demonstrated that the experimental RR spectra are consistent with a torsional angle of ring D with respect to ring C that is distinctly higher for phyA-PCB (45 degrees) and phyA P Phi B (42 degrees) than for Cph1 Delta 2 (30 degrees). Raman spectra calculated from different points of the MD trajectory display variations of the mode frequencies and intensities reflecting the structural fluctuations from snapshot to snapshot. The snapshot spectrum of the lowest energy structure and the sum of all snapshot spectra afford an equally good description of the experimental data. Particularly large variations between the snapshots are noted for the N-H in-plane bending mode of the pyrrole rings B and C, which reflect alterations of the hydrogen bond interactions brought about by fluctuations of water molecules in the cofactor cavity. This overestimation of the water molecule mobility is a consequence of the deficiency of the current QM/MM methodology that, due to the lack of appropriate protein force fields, cannot adequately account for the electrostatics in the cofactor pocket.
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