Curated Optogenetic Publication Database

Search precisely and efficiently by using the advantage of the hand-assigned publication tags that allow you to search for papers involving a specific trait, e.g. a particular optogenetic switch or a host organism.

Showing 1 - 6 of 6 results

Single Amino Acid Mutation Decouples Photochemistry of the BLUF Domain from the Enzymatic Function of OaPAC and Drives the Enzyme to a Switched-on State.

blue BLUF domains Background
J Mol Biol, 10 Oct 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2023.168312 Link to full text
Abstract: Photoactivated adenylate cyclases (PACs) are light-activated enzymes that combine a BLUF (blue-light using flavin) domain and an adenylate cyclase domain that are able to increase the levels of the important second messenger cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) upon blue-light excitation. The light-induced changes in the BLUF domain are transduced to the adenylate cyclase domain via a mechanism that has not yet been established. One critical residue in the photoactivation mechanism of BLUF domains, present in the vicinity of the flavin is the glutamine amino acid close to the N5 of the flavin. The role of this residue has been investigated extensively both experimentally and theoretically. However, its role in the activity of the photoactivated adenylate cyclase, OaPAC has never been addressed. In this work, we applied ultrafast transient visible and infrared spectroscopies to study the photochemistry of the Q48E OaPAC mutant. This mutation altered the primary electron transfer process and switched the enzyme into a permanent 'on' state, able to increase the cAMP levels under dark conditions compared to the cAMP levels of the dark-adapted state of the wild-type OaPAC. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements point to a less compact structure for the Q48E OaPAC mutant. The ensemble of these findings provide insight into the important elements in PACs and how their fine tuning may help in the design of optogenetic devices.

Photophysics of the Blue Light Using Flavin Domain.

blue BLUF domains Background
Acc Chem Res, 12 Jan 2022 DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.1c00659 Link to full text
Abstract: ConspectusLight activated proteins are at the heart of photobiology and optogenetics, so there is wide interest in understanding the mechanisms coupling optical excitation to protein function. In addition, such light activated proteins provide unique insights into the real-time dynamics of protein function. Using pump-probe spectroscopy, the function of a photoactive protein can be initiated by a sub-100 fs pulse of light, allowing subsequent protein dynamics to be probed from femtoseconds to milliseconds and beyond. Among the most interesting photoactive proteins are the blue light using flavin (BLUF) domain proteins, which regulate the response to light of a wide range of bacterial and some euglenoid processes. The photosensing mechanism of BLUF domains has long been a subject of debate. In contrast to other photoactive proteins, the electronic and nuclear structure of the chromophore (flavin) is the same in dark- and light-adapted states. Thus, the driving force for photoactivity is unclear.To address this question requires real-time observation of both chromophore excited state processes and their effect on the structure and dynamics of the surrounding protein matrix. In this Account we describe how time-resolved infrared (IR) experiments, coupled with chemical biology, provide important new insights into the signaling mechanism of BLUF domains. IR measurements are sensitive to changes in both chromophore electronic structure and protein hydrogen bonding interactions. These contributions are resolved by isotope labeling of the chromophore and protein separately. Further, a degree of control over BLUF photochemistry is achieved through mutagenesis, while unnatural amino acid substitution allows us to both fine-tune the photochemistry and time resolve protein dynamics with spatial resolution.Ultrafast studies of BLUF domains reveal non-single-exponential relaxation of the flavin excited state. That relaxation leads within one nanosecond to the original flavin ground state bound in a modified hydrogen-bonding network, as seen in transient and steady-state IR spectroscopy. The change in H-bond configuration arises from formation of an unusual enol (imine) form of a critical glutamine residue. The dynamics observed, complemented by quantum mechanical calculations, suggest a unique sequential electron then double proton transfer reaction as the driving force, followed by rapid reorganization in the binding site and charge recombination. Importantly, studies of several BLUF domains reveal an unexpected diversity in their dynamics, although the underlying structure appears highly conserved. It is suggested that this diversity reflects structural dynamics in the ground state at standard temperature, leading to a distribution of structures and photochemical outcomes. Time resolved IR measurements were extended to the millisecond regime for one BLUF domain, revealing signaling state formation on the microsecond time scale. The mechanism involves reorganization of a β-sheet connected to the chromophore binding pocket via a tryptophan residue. The potential of site-specific labeling amino acids with IR labels as a tool for probing protein structural dynamics was demonstrated.In summary, time-resolved IR studies of BLUF domains (along with related studies at visible wavelengths and quantum and molecular dynamics calculations) have resolved the photoactivation mechanism and real-time dynamics of signaling state formation. These measurements provide new insights into protein structural dynamics and will be important in optimizing the potential of BLUF domains in optobiology.

Unraveling the Mechanism of a LOV Domain Optogenetic Sensor: A Glutamine Lever Induces Unfolding of the Jα Helix.

blue LOV domains Background
ACS Chem Biol, 3 Sep 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.0c00543 Link to full text
Abstract: Light-activated protein domains provide a convenient, modular, and genetically encodable sensor for optogenetics and optobiology. Although these domains have now been deployed in numerous systems, the precise mechanism of photoactivation and the accompanying structural dynamics that modulate output domain activity remain to be fully elucidated. In the C-terminal light, oxygen, voltage (LOV) domain of plant phototropins (LOV2), blue light activation leads to formation of an adduct between a conserved Cys residue and the embedded FMN chromophore, rotation of a conserved Gln (Q513), and unfolding of a helix (Jα-helix) which is coupled to the output partner. In the present work, we focus on the allosteric pathways leading to Jα helix unfolding in Avena sativa LOV2 (AsLOV2) using an interdisciplinary approach involving molecular dynamics simulations extending to 7 μs, time-resolved infrared spectroscopy, solution NMR spectroscopy, and in-cell optogenetic experiments. In the dark state, the side chain of N414 is hydrogen bonded to the backbone N-H of Q513. The simulations predict a lever-like motion of Q513 after Cys adduct formation resulting in loss of the interaction between the side chain of N414 and the backbone C=O of Q513, and formation of a transient hydrogen bond between the Q513 and N414 side chains. The central role of N414 in signal transduction was evaluated by site-directed mutagenesis supporting a direct link between Jα helix unfolding dynamics and the cellular function of the Zdk2-AsLOV2 optogenetic construct. Through this multifaceted approach, we show that Q513 and N414 are critical mediators of protein structural dynamics, linking the ultrafast (sub-ps) excitation of the FMN chromophore to the microsecond conformational changes that result in photoreceptor activation and biological function.

Excited State Vibrations of Isotopically Labeled FMN Free and Bound to a Light-Oxygen-Voltage (LOV) Protein.

blue LOV domains Background
J Phys Chem B, 10 Aug 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c04943 Link to full text
Abstract: Flavoproteins are important blue light sensors in photobiology and play a key role in optogenetics. The characterization of their excited state structure and dynamics is thus an important objective. Here, we present a detailed study of excited state vibrational spectra of flavin mononucleotide (FMN), in solution and bound to the LOV-2 (Light-Oxygen-Voltage) domain of Avena sativa phototropin. Vibrational frequencies are determined for the optically excited singlet state and the reactive triplet state, through resonant ultrafast femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy (FSRS). To assign the observed spectra, vibrational frequencies of the excited states are calculated using density functional theory, and both measurement and theory are applied to four different isotopologues of FMN. Excited state mode assignments are refined in both states, and their sensitivity to deuteration and protein environment are investigated. We show that resonant FSRS provides a useful tool for characterizing photoactive flavoproteins and is able to highlight chromophore localized modes and to record hydrogen/deuterium exchange.

Femtosecond to Millisecond Dynamics of Light Induced Allostery in the Avena sativa LOV Domain.

blue LOV domains Background
J Phys Chem B, 25 Jan 2017 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b00088 Link to full text
Abstract: The rational engineering of photosensor proteins underpins the field of optogenetics, in which light is used for spatiotemporal control of cell signaling. Optogenetic elements function by converting electronic excitation of an embedded chromophore into structural changes on the microseconds to seconds time scale, which then modulate the activity of output domains responsible for biological signaling. Using time-resolved vibrational spectroscopy coupled with isotope labeling, we have mapped the structural evolution of the LOV2 domain of the flavin binding phototropin Avena sativa (AsLOV2) over 10 decades of time, reporting structural dynamics between 100 fs and 1 ms after optical excitation. The transient vibrational spectra contain contributions from both the flavin chromophore and the surrounding protein matrix. These contributions are resolved and assigned through the study of four different isotopically labeled samples. High signal-to-noise data permit the detailed analysis of kinetics associated with the light activated structural evolution. A pathway for the photocycle consistent with the data is proposed. The earliest events occur in the flavin binding pocket, where a subpicosecond perturbation of the protein matrix occurs. In this perturbed environment, the previously characterized reaction between triplet state isoalloxazine and an adjacent cysteine leads to formation of the adduct state; this step is shown to exhibit dispersive kinetics. This reaction promotes coupling of the optical excitation to successive time-dependent structural changes, initially in the β-sheet and then α-helix regions of the AsLOV2 domain, which ultimately gives rise to Jα-helix unfolding, yielding the signaling state. This model is tested through point mutagenesis, elucidating in particular the key mediating role played by Q513.

Proteins in action: femtosecond to millisecond structural dynamics of a photoactive flavoprotein.

blue Fluorescent proteins Background
J Am Chem Soc, 22 Oct 2013 DOI: 10.1021/ja407265p Link to full text
Abstract: Living systems are fundamentally dependent on the ability of proteins to respond to external stimuli. The mechanism, the underlying structural dynamics, and the time scales for regulation of this response are central questions in biochemistry. Here we probe the structural dynamics of the BLUF domain found in several photoactive flavoproteins, which is responsible for light activated functions as diverse as phototaxis and gene regulation. Measurements have been made over 10 decades of time (from 100 fs to 1 ms) using transient vibrational spectroscopy. Chromophore (flavin ring) localized dynamics occur on the pico- to nanosecond time scale, while subsequent protein structural reorganization is observed over microseconds. Multiple time scales are observed for the dynamics associated with different vibrations of the protein, suggesting an underlying hierarchical relaxation pathway. Structural evolution in residues directly H-bonded to the chromophore takes place more slowly than changes in more remote residues. However, a point mutation which suppresses biological function is shown to 'short circuit' this structural relaxation pathway, suppressing the changes which occur further away from the chromophore while accelerating dynamics close to it.
Submit a new publication to our database