Fast Photochemistry of Prototypical Phytochromes : A Species vs. Subunit Specific Comparison
Ihalainen, J., Takala, H., & Lehtivuori, H. (2015). Fast Photochemistry of Prototypical Phytochromes : A Species vs. Subunit Specific Comparison. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, 2, 00075. doi:10.3389/fmolb.2015.00075
Published inFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
DisciplineSolu- ja molekyylibiologia
© 2015 Ihalainen, Takala and Lehtivuori. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
Phytochromes are multi-domain red light photosensor proteins, which convert red light photons to biological activity utilizing the multitude of structural and chemical reactions. The steady increase in structural information obtained from various bacteriophytochromes has increased understanding about the functional mechanism of the photochemical processes of the phytochromes. Furthermore, a number of spectroscopic studies have revealed kinetic information about the light-induced reactions. The spectroscopic changes are, however, challenging to connect with the structural changes of the chromophore and the protein environment, as the excited state properties of the chromophores are very sensitive to the small structural and chemical changes of their environment. In this article, we concentrate on the results of ultra-fast spectroscopic experiments which reveal information about the important initial steps of the photoreactions of the phytochromes. We survey the excited state properties obtained during the last few decades. The differences in kinetics between different research laboratories are traditionally related to the differences of the studied species. However, we notice that the variation in the excited state properties depends on the subunit composition of the protein as well. This observation illustrates a feedback mechanism from the other domains to the chromophore. We propose that two feedback routes exist in phytochromes between the chromophore and the remotely located effector domain. The well-known connection between the subunits is the so-called tongue region, which changes its secondary structure while changing the light-activated state of the system. The other feedback route which we suggest is less obvious, it is made up of several water molecules ranging from the dimer interface to the vicinity of the chromophore, allowing even proton transfer reactions nearby the chromophore. ...