- Structural and functional characterisation of Photosystem II from two His-tagged transplastomic strains of Nicotiana tabacum (2007)
- Photosystem II (PSII) is a polypeptide-cofactor complex organised as a homodimeric multisubunit protein embedded in the thylakoid membrane. PSII monomers are heterooligomers related to each other by a pseudo-twofold axis perpendicular to the membrane plane (Loll et al. 2005). PSII acts as a photochemical enzyme that through the chlorophylls and the other cofactors catalyses photon capture and electron transfer from water to the plastoquinone pool with concomitant evolution of oxygen. Photon capture and charge separation take place in the PSII core which consists of the D1 and D2 proteins, the cytochrome b559 alpha- and beta-chains (PsbE and F subunits) and the chlorophyll a-binding antenna proteins CP43 and CP47 (Loll et al. 2005). The remaining polypeptides are low molecular mass proteins with not clearly understood fuctions; they include chloroplast-encoded (PsbH, I, J, K, L, M, N, T and Z) and nucleus-encoded (PsbR, S, W and X) proteins consisting of one to four transmembrane helices (Barber et al. 1997). The oxygen-evolving part of PSII consists of a Mn-Ca transition complex called Mn cluster or oxygen evolving complex that is situated on the luminal side of PSII. In higher plants it is stabilised by the PsbO (33 kDa), PsbP (23 kDa) and PsbQ (17 kDa) extrinsic subunits (Soursa et al. 2006; Ifuku et al. 2005). The structure and mechanisms related to the oxygen evolving complex of PSII are not completely clarified. Currently two high resolution structures from the cyanobacteria S. elongatus are available (Loll et al. 2005; Ferreira et al. 2004) Nevertheless structural information is not as well defined in green algae and higher plants as in cyanobacteria. In fact the 8Å structure available from spinach has too low resolution for addressing questions such as the structural and functional differences in respect to PSII from cyanobateria (Rhee et al. 1997).. Therefore it is obvious that for PSII from higher plants the main general questions are still open: is the structure of PSII from higher plants equivalent to the structures observed in cyanobacteria? Is the typical higher plants subunit PsbS stably or transiently bound to PSII? Finding an answer to these questions was the main focus of this work. In this work a simple and rapid protocol to isolate the oxygen-evolving photosystem II (PSII) core complex from Nicotiana tabacum was developed. A PSII having a His-tag extension made of six or ten consecutive histidine residues at the N-terminus of the PsbE subunit was purified by a single-step Ni2+ NTA-affinity column chromatography after solubilisation of the thylakoid membranes using different mild detergents. Characterization of the oxygen evolution and the subunit composition by immunoblotting and mass spectroscopy revealed that the His-tagging did not affect the functional integrity of the PSII reaction center. The final PSII core complex was purified in a single step from solubilised thylakoids in less than 14 hours getting a very pure sample in high amount. The isolated core complex was in a dimeric form as demonstrated by Blue Native PAGE, analytical gel filtration and single particles analysis; with a molecular mass of about 500 kDa, consisting of D1, D2, CP43, CP47, 33 kDa and low molecular weight proteins. The preparation retains a high rate of oxygen-evolving activity but showed different stabilities of the binding of the three extrinsic proteins. The subunit of 33 kDa was always present in the preparations with a constant amount, whereas the 23 and 17 kDa subunits were always in less and unconstant amounts. Nevertheless the oxygen evolution was not depending on the amount of the 23 and 17 kDa subunits. Furthermore the preparation showed a high oxygen-evolving activity of 1390 micromol/mg Chl·h-1 in presence of betaine, while its activity was 440-680 micromol/mg Chl·h-1 in its absence. The presence of 1.0 mol/L betaine during the isolation of PSII increased the preservation of the photochemical activity hence the oxygen evolution. It was inferred from these results that His-tagging does not affect the functional and structural integrity of the PSII core complex and that the “Histag strategy” is highly useful for biochemical, physicochemical and structural studies of higher plant PSII. PSII is directly involved in two essential processes, the efficient capture and funnelling of light energy to the reaction centre and the controlled dissipation of excess excitation energy. Those functions require structural and functional flexibility in order to be performed with high efficiency. Moreover light-harvesting proteins respond to an external signal, the thylakoid pH, to induce feedback control regulating those activities in every moment. This process called non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is mainly depending on the xanthophyll cycle and the PsbS protein (Szabo et al. 2005). In this work several new evidences related with those two processes were found. The subunit PsbS is a polypeptide whose involvement in the NPQ processes is debated. Nevertheless, its position in the PSII complex and the mechanisms by which this subunit contributes to carry out the NPQ functions are not definitely known. In addition it is not sure if it is a pigment binding protein or not. Currently several lines of evidence indicate that this subunit is able to bind two molecules of zeaxanthin, one of the pigments involved in the xanthophyll cycle. In this work immunolabelling indicated that PsbS is tightly bound to the PSII core dimer, monomer and incomplete PSII particles as Reaction Centre-CP47 (RC-CP47). Furthermore qualitative HPLC indicates a complete absence of zeaxanthin in the sample and the presence of violaxanthin, another pigment involved in the xanthophyll cycle. The absence of zeaxanthin was expected considering that the plants were harvested after the dark period and that the particles were purified in complete dark (or in green light), whereas the presence of violaxanthin was unexpected considering that so far no evidence of violaxanthin bound to PSII cores devoid of LHC proteins was reported. Furthermore the amount of chlorophyll b was not relevant for suspecting this pigment bound to PsbS. Therefore we conclude that if PsbS is able to bind chlorophyll it has to be a chlorophyll a. The results indicate that PsbS could be able to bind not only zeaxanthin but also violaxanthin. The extrinsic subunit Psb27 was also found in this preparation. The presence and the amount of this subunit, reported to be involved in the repair of damaged PSII, was not constant and therefore behaving as the other two extrinsic proteins 23kDa (PsbP) and 17kDa (PsbQ). Electron crystallography studies on spinach PSII particles purified by differential solubilisation resulted in crystalline tubes with new unit cell constants. From data analysis a density map at 15Å resolution was obtained with a P22121 symmetry. However, at this resolution it cannot be said if the internal symmetry axis is related with the two-fold axis of the dimer or the pseudo two-fold axis of the monomer. In conclusion a method to isolate functional, pure PSII core complexes was developped. These samples, together with the improved 2d crystallisation protocol could lead to crystals with higher quality hence better resolution density maps in the future.
- Biochemical and biotechnological approaches as basis for structure determination of pigment-protein complexes of oxygenic photosynthesis (2006)
- Today the structure of photosystem II, which is the enzyme responsible for the evolution of molecular oxygen by plants, algae and cyanobacteria, is known up to a resolution of about 3.0 Å in cyanobacteria (Loll et al., 2005). Photosystem II of higher plants, which shows some differences compared to the photosystem II of cyanobacteria, is not resolved in such high detail, yet (8-10 Å) (Rhee et al., 1998; Hankamer et al., 2001a). Therefore, the molecular structure of PSII of higher plants and its adjacent antenna complexes remains in the focus of the current research. One of the major problems when working with photosystem II is its relative instability during isolation. Together with the antenna proteins and several other proteins, some of which still have an unclear function, PSII forms a huge multi-protein-complex, which tends to fall apart during classical preparation methods. In order to achieve a faster and milder method of purification for PSII, four different His-tags have been added to one of the subunits of PSII. The gene targeted in this study is called psbE and codes for the α-chain of cytochrome b559, an integral part of PSII. The gene for PsbE is encoded in the chloroplast genome. The His-tags, which were employed in this work, consist of six or ten consecutive histidine aminoacid residues, which were fused to the N-terminus of the protein, either with or without a cleavage site for the protease “Factor Xa”. The N-terminus of PsbE is located on the more accessible stromal side of the thylakoid membrane. After inserting the psbE gene in a vector plasmid, in which the recognition site for the restriction endonuclease SacI had been eliminated, the different His-tags were generated by PCR with purposefully altered primers. In a final cloning step, a gene, which confers resistance to the antibiotics spectinomycin and streptomycin, was added to the DNA construct. Subsequently, the so-called biolistic transformation method (“gene gun”) was applied to introduce this genetically engineered plasmid DNA to Nicotiana tabacum chloroplasts (Bock & Hagemann, 2000). Through the processes of homologous recombination that take place in the chloroplast, the plastid encoded wildtype psbE gene was replaced by its His-tag containing counterparts. After several rounds of regenerating plants on antibiotic-containing medium, successful transformation was confirmed through PCR methods. By self fertilisation of fully regenerated plants, seeds were produced from tobacco strains, which carried only the mutated psbE gene. Plants cultivated from these seeds showed no distinctive phenotype under the chosen growth conditions, in respect to wildtype plants. The presence of the His-tag in this F1 generation was again confirmed with PCR methods. Measurements of oxygen evolution and pulse amplitude modulated fluorescence (PAM), carried out with preparations of wildtype and transgenic tobacco strains, revealed no differences for photochemical or non-photochemical quenching between both types. However, the oxygen evolution capacity of transgenic tobacco thylakoids compared to the wildtype was significantly reduced, although the chlorophyll content in relation to the leaf area was almost identical. This hints at a reduced amount of photosystem II complexes in the thylakoid membranes of transgenic tobacco. This alteration could be related to the mutation of cytochrome b559, because, amongst other functions, this subunit was shown to be important for the assembly of photosystem II (Morais et al., 1998). If solubilised thylakoid preparations of His-tagged plant strains were applied to a Ni-NTA column, photosystem II was selectively bound to the matrix. After washing away most of the contaminations, photosystem II core complexes could be eluted with imidazole-containing buffer. Photosystem II prepared in this way, displayed a drastic reduction of the peripheral light-harvesting complexes (LHCI & LHCII) and photo-system I reaction centres. This could be demonstrated by the loss of chlorophyll b and xanthophyll bands (LHCs) in absorption spectra, a small blue-shift of the chlorophyll a Qy absorption (PSI) and the respective band patterns in polyacrylamide gel electro-phoresis. The photosystem II complexes prepared in this way can now be put to use in different structural studies, like two-dimensional or three-dimensional crystallisation and spectroscopic measurements. Another photosynthetic pigment-protein complex of interest is the fucoxanthin-chlorophyll a/c-binding protein of diatoms, because eukaryotic algae, like diatoms, are important factors of oceanic ecosystems and account for a large part of marine biomass production. In order to facilitate ultra-fast time-resolved transient absorption spectroscopy and subsequent modelling of the kinetic traces, FCPs were prepared by sucrose-gradient ultra-centrifugation and their pigment stoichiometries determined by HPLC. Combining the spectroscopic data (Papagiannakis et al., 2005) with protein sequence alignments (Eppard & Rhiel, 1998) and the structure of the homologous higher plant LHCIIb (Kühlbrandt et al., 1994), a hypothetical model for the structure of FCP could be proposed (Fig. IV.3)
- Biochemical characterisation of photosystem I complexes in diatoms (2009)
- Photosystem (PS) I is a huge membrane protein complex which coordinates around 200 co-factors. Upon light excitation a charge separation at the PS I reaction centre is induced which leads to an electron transport across the thylakoid membrane and the generation of redox equivalents needed for several biochemical reactions, e.g. the synthesis of sugars. For higher plants and cyanobacteria the crystal structure of PS I complexes were resolved to resolutions of 4.4 Å and 2.5 Å. Furthermore, supramolecular structures of PS I of eukaryotic algae, mainly of the green line, were obtained recently. However, up to now, no structure of diatoms is available yet. Diatoms are key players in global primary production and derived from a secondary endosymbiosis event. Their chloroplasts are surrounded by four envelope membranes and their thylakoids are evenly arranged in bands of three, i.e. no separation in grana and stroma regions is apparent. In this thesis a protocol was developed to isolate a functional PS I complex of diatoms which can be used for structural analysis by transmissional electron microscopy (TEM). A photosystem I-fucoxanthin chlorophyll protein (PS I-FCP) complex was isolated from the pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum by ion exchange chromatography. Spectroscopic analysis proved that bound Fcp polypeptides function as a light-harvesting complex. An active light energy transfer from Fcp associated pigments, Chl c and fucoxanthin, towards the PS I core was proven by fluorescence spectroscopy. Oxidised minus reduced difference spectroscopy evidenced the activity of the PS I reaction centre P700 and yielded a chlorophyll a/P700 ratio of approximately 200:1. These data indicate that the isolated PS I-FCP complex exceeds the PS I cores from cyanobacteria and higher plants in the numbers of chlorophyll a molecules. Because of the strict conservation of PS I cores among organisms the additional 100 chlorophyll a molecules must either be coordinated by Fcps or function as linker molecules between the Fcp antenna and the PS I core as shown for the PS I-LHC I complex of higher plants. To tell something about the structural organisation, the PS I-FCP complex was compared with its cyanobacterial and higher plant counterparts. Whereas cyanobacterial PS I cores aggregate to trimers, usually without associated antennae, higher plant PS I is a monomer and binds additionally two LHC I heterodimers. BN-PAGE and gel filtration experiments showed that also diatoms contain PS I monomers associated with Fcps as light-harvesting antenna. First TEM studies evidenced these observations. Negatively stained PS I-FCP particles had an increased size compared to PS I cores of other organisms. No PS I trimers or higher oligomers have been found. The calculated diameter and shape of the particles correspond to PS I-LHC I particles obtained from green algae, which also comprise of a higher number of LHC I polypeptides compared to the higher plant x-ray structure. Additionally, the analysis of polypeptides indicates that the PS I associated Fcps differ from the free Fcp pool and also from Fcps of a PS II enriched fraction. The assumption that diatoms harbour just one Fcp antenna that serve both Photosystems equally seems to be wrong. To further study the association of Fcps with the two Photosystems, both complexes plus the free FCP complexes were isolated from the centric diatom Cyclotella meneghiniana. Because of the availability of antibodies directed against specific Fcp polypeptides of Cyclotella the PS I-FCP complex of Phaeodactylum could not be used. A trimeric FCP complex, FCPa, and a higher FCP oligomer, FCPb, have already been described for C. meneghiniana. The latter is assumed to be composed of only Fcp5, whereas the FCPa contains Fcp2 and Fcp6. Biochemical and spectroscopical evidences revealed a different subset of associated Fcp polypeptides within the isolated photosystem complexes. Whereas the PS II associated Fcp antenna resembles FCPa, at least three different Fcp polypeptides are associated with PS I. By re-solubilisation of the PS I complex and a further purification step Fcp polypeptides were partially removed from PS I and both fractions were analysed again by biochemical and spectroscopical means, as well as by HPLC. Thereby Fcp4 and a so far undescribed 17 kDa Fcp were found to be strongly coupled to PS I, whereas another Fcp, presumably Fcp5, is only loosely bound to the PS I core. Thus an association of FCPb and PS I is assumed.
- Elektronenmikroskopische Untersuchung des Transportmechanismus von nanopartikulären Arzneistoffträgersystemen über die Blut-Hirn-Schranke (2011)
- Einleitung: Um die empfindlichen Nervenzellen des Gehirns vor den Einflüssen schädigender Substanzen im systemisch zirkulierenden Blut zu schützen, besitzen höhere Lebewesen einen Barrieremechanismus, der das zentrale Nervensystem (ZNS) nach außen hin abriegelt. Diese Blut-Hirn-Schranke (BHS) wird durch die Gefäßendothelzellen im Gehirn gebildet, die über eine Kombination mehrerer Mechanismen Substanzen vom Eindringen in das Gehirngewebe abhalten. Zum einen stellt die Existenz dieser Barriere einen lebensnotwendigen Schutz dar, zum anderen jedoch bedeutet sie eine große Hürde in der Pharmakotherapie von Erkrankungen des zentralen Nervensystems, da nur wenige Arzneimittel in der Lage sind sie zu überwinden. Eine gute Gehirngängigkeit besitzen in der Regel kleine Moleküle mit einer hohen Lipophilie oder solche, die aktiv über Transporter oder Rezeptoren in das ZNS aufgenommen werden. Alle anderen Substanzen, wie effektiv sie auch im restlichen Körper sein mögen, stehen für die Therapie zerebraler Krankheiten wie z.B. Epilepsie, Alzheimer, Gehirntumore oder ZNS-HIV unter normalen Umständen nicht zur Verfügung. Das Gebiet der kolloidalen Trägersysteme bietet eine Lösung für dieses Problem. Durch den Einsatz von Liposomen oder Nanopartikeln als „Carrier“ können verschiedene Arzneistoffe aktiv in das Gehirn transportiert warden, um dort ihre Wirkung zu entfalten. Des Weiteren führt ein solches „Drug targeting“ nicht nur zu einer Überwindung der BHS sondern gleichzeitig zu einer vermehrten Anreicherung des Arzneistoffs im ZNS und dadurch zu geringeren Nebenwirkungen im restlichen Organismus. Durch die erhöhte Selektivität für das ZNS können kleinere und somit für den Körper verträglichere Dosen des Arzneistoffs eingesetzt werden. In der Vergangenheit konnte gezeigt werden, dass unter anderem Nanopartikel aus humanem Serumalbumin, welche mit Polysorbat 80 überzogen waren oder deren Oberfläche mit Apolipoproteinen modifiziert wurde, Arzneistoffe, die üblicherweise nicht in der Lage sind die Blut-Hirn-Schranke zu überwinden, zentral zur Wirkung brachten. Der genaue Mechanismus, durch den diese Arzneistoffe mithilfe der Trägersysteme ins Gehirn gelangen,war bisher weitgehend ungeklärt. Ein Eindringen des arzneistoffbeladenen Nanopartikels als Ganzes in das Gehirn sowie die Einleitung 2 Vermittlung des Arzneistoff-Transportes durch das Partikel am Endothel oder gar eine unselektive Zerstörung der Barrierefunktion wurden diskutiert. Im Rahmen dieser Arbeit wurden mit Apolipoproteinen modifizierte Partikel aus humanem Serumalbumin hergestellt und hinsichtlich ihrer Größe, der Größenverteilung, des Partikelgehaltes, der Oberflächenladung und ihres morphologischen Erscheinungsbildes charakterisiert. Anschließend wurde die Interaktion dieser kolloidalen Trägersysteme mit isolierten Endothelzellen des Nagergehirns mittels verschiedener Analytiken untersucht. Gleichzeitig wurden in umfangreichen Untersuchungen an Mäusen und Ratten die Geschehnisse in vivo beleuchtet und mit Hilfe eines bildgebenden Verfahrens, der Elektronenmikroskopie, dargestellt. Des Weiteren wurde der Effekt einer nanopartikulären Applikation auf die Integrität der Barrierefunktion der BHS untersucht, wodurch eine schädliche Wirkung der Partikel ausgeschlossen und die der Aufnahme in das ZNS zugrunde liegenden Transportmechanismen aufgeklärt werden konnten.
- Biochemical characterization of Fucoxanthin Chlorophyll a/c binding proteins in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum (2012)
- Diatoms contribute largely to the total primary production of the ecosphere and are key players in global biogeochemical cycles. Their chloroplasts are surrounded by four membranes owing to their secondary endosymbiotic origin. Their thylakoids are arranged into three parallel bands and differentiation of thylakoid membranes into grana or stroma is not observed. The fucoxanthin chlorophyll a/c binding proteins act as the light harvesting proteins and play a role in photoprotection during excess light as well. The diatom genome encodes three different families of antenna proteins. Family I are the classical light harvesting proteins called "Lhcf". Family II are the red algae related Lhca-R1/2 proteins called "Lhcr" and family III are the photoprotective LI818 related proteins called "Lhcx". All known Fcps have a molecular weight in the range of 17-23 kDa. They are membrane proteins and have shorter loops and termini compared to LHCs of higher plants and are therefore extremely hydrophobic. This makes the isolation of single specific Fcps using routine protein purification techniques difficult. The purification of a specific Fcp containing complex has not been achieved so far and until this is done several questions concerning light harvesting antenna systems of diatoms cannot be answered. For e.g. Which proteins interact specifically? Are various Fcps differently pigmented? Which pigments interact with each other and how? Which proteins contribute to photosystem specific antenna systems? Can pure Fcps be reconstituted into crystals like LHCII proteins? In order to answer these questions specific Fcp containing complexes have to be purified. ...