A 51 bp section of the Rhodobacter capsulatus photosynthetic reaction center M subunit gene (nucleotides M562-M612 of thepufM structural sequence) encoding amino acids M187-M203 was replaced by the homologous region of the L subunit gene. This resulted in the symmetrization of much of the amino acid environment of the reaction center initial electron donor, P. This is the first in a series of large-scale symmetry mutations and is referred to as syml. The syml mutant was able to grow photosynthetically, indicating that reaction center function was largely intact. Isolated reaction centers showed an approximately 10-nm blue shift in the Qy band of P. The standard free energy change between P* and P+BphA- determined from analysis of the long-lived fluorescence from quinone-reduced reaction centers decreased from about -120 meV in the wild-type to about -75 meV in the syml mutant. A 65-70% quantum yield of electron transfer from P* to P+QA- was observed, most of the yield loss occurring between P* and P+BphA-. The decay of the stimulated emission from P* was about 3-fold slower in this mutant than in the wild-type. Time-resolved spectral analysis of the charge-separated intermediates formed in syml reaction centers indicated that the major product was P+BphA-. A model-dependent analysis of the observed rates and electron-transfer yields gave the following microscopic rate constants for syml reaction centers (wild-type values under the same conditions are given in parentheses): [formula omitted] Analysis of the syml mutant, mutants near P made by other groups, and interspecies variation of amino acids in the vicinity of P suggests that the protein asymmetry in the environment of the initial electron donor is important for optimizing the rate and yield of electron transfer, but is not strictly required for overall reaction center function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas