Revealing the Functional States in the Active Site of BLUF Photoreceptors from Electrochromic Shift Calculations
Sprache des Titels:
Photoexcitation with blue light of the flavin chromophore in BLUF photoreceptors induces a switch into a metastable signaling state that is characterized by a red-shifted absorption maximum. The red shift is due to a rearrangement in the hydrogen bond pattern around Gln63 located in the immediate proximity of the isoalloxazine ring system of the chromophore. There is a long-lasting controversy between two structural models, named Q63A and Q63J in the literature, on the local conformation of the residues Gln63 and Tyr21 in the dark state of the photoreceptor. As regards the mechanistic details of the light-activation mechanism, rotation of Gln63 is opposed by tautomerism in the Q63A and Q63J models, respectively. We provide a structure-based simulation of electrochromic shifts of the flavin chromophore in the wild type and in various site-directed mutants. The excellent overall agreement between experimental and computed data allows us to evaluate the two structural models. Compelling evidence is obtained that the Q63A model is incorrect, whereas the Q63J is fully consistent with the present computations. Finally, we confirm independently that a keto?enol tautomerization of the glutamine at position 63, which was proposed as molecular mechanism for the transition between the dark and the light-adapted state, explains the measured 10 to 15 nm red shift in flavin absorption between these two states of the protein. We believe that the accurateness of our results provides evidence that the BLUF photoreceptors absorption is fine-tuned through electrostatic interactions between the chromophore and the protein matrix, and finally that the simplicity of our theoretical model is advantageous as regards easy reproducibility and further extensions.