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Assembly of photoactive orange carotenoid protein from its domains unravels a carotenoid shuttle mechanism
Citation key Moldenhauer2017
Author Moldenhauer, Marcus and Sluchanko, Nikolai N. and Buhrke, David and Zlenko, Dmitry V. and Tavraz, Neslihan N. and Schmitt, Franz-Josef and Hildebrandt, Peter and Maksimov, Eugene G. and Friedrich, Thomas
Pages 1–15
Year 2017
ISSN 1573-5079
DOI 10.1007/s11120-017-0353-3
Journal Photosynthesis Research
Abstract The photoswitchable orange carotenoid protein (OCP) is indispensable for cyanobacterial photoprotection by quenching phycobilisome fluorescence upon photoconversion from the orange OCPO to the red OCPR form. Cyanobacterial genomes frequently harbor, besides genes for orange carotenoid proteins (OCPs), several genes encoding homologs of OCP's N- or C-terminal domains (NTD, CTD). Unlike the well-studied NTD homologs, called Red Carotenoid Proteins (RCPs), the role of CTD homologs remains elusive. We show how OCP can be reassembled from its functional domains. Expression of Synechocystis OCP-CTD in carotenoid-producing Escherichia coli yielded violet-colored proteins, which, upon mixing with the RCP-apoprotein, produced an orange-like photoswitchable form that further photoconverted into a species that quenches phycobilisome fluorescence and is spectroscopically indistinguishable from RCP, thus demonstrating a unique carotenoid shuttle mechanism. Spontaneous carotenoid transfer also occurs between canthaxanthin-coordinating OCP-CTD and the OCP apoprotein resulting in formation of photoactive OCP. The OCP-CTD itself is a novel, dimeric carotenoid-binding protein, which can coordinate canthaxanthin and zeaxanthin, effectively quenches singlet oxygen and interacts with the Fluorescence Recovery Protein. These findings assign physiological roles to the multitude of CTD homologs in cyanobacteria and explain the evolutionary process of OCP formation.
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