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Albeit achieving the X-ray diffraction structure of dimeric photosystem II core complexes (dPSIIcc) at the atomic resolution, the nature of the detergent belt surrounding dPSIIcc remains ambiguous. Therefore, the solution structure of the whole detergent-protein complex of dPSIIcc of Thermosynechococcus elongatus (T. elongatus) solubilized in n-dodecyl-ß-d-maltoside (ßDM) was investigated by a combination of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) with contrast variation. First, the structure of dPSIIcc was studied separately in SANS experiments using a contrast of 5% D2O. Guinier analysis reveals that the dPSIIcc solution is virtually free of aggregation in the studied concentration range of 2-10 mg/mL dPSIIcc, and characterized by a radius of gyration of 62 Å. A structure reconstitution shows that dPSIIcc in buffer solution widely retains the crystal structure reported by X-ray free electron laser studies at room temperature with a slight expansion of the entire protein. Additional SANS experiments on dPSIIcc samples in a buffer solution containing 75% D2O provide information about the size and shape of the whole detergent-dPSIIcc. The maximum position of P(r) function increases to 68 Å, i.e., it is about 6 Å larger than that of dPSIIcc only, thus indicating the presence of an additional structure. Thus, it can be concluded that dPSIIcc is surrounded by a monomolecular belt of detergent molecules under appropriate solubilization conditions. The homogeneity of the ßDM-dPSIIcc solutions was also verified using dynamic light scattering. Complementary SAXS experiments indicate the presence of unbound detergent micelles by a separate peak consistent with a spherical shape possessing a radius of about 40 Å. The latter structure also contributes to the SANS data but rather broadens the SANS curve artificially. Without the simultaneous inspection of SANS and SAXS data, this effect may lead to an apparent underestimation of the size of the PS II-detergent complex. The formation of larger unbound detergent aggregates in solution prior to crystallization may have a significant effect on the crystal formation or quality of the ßDM-dPSIIcc.


Maksym Golub, Rana Hussein, Mohamed Ibrahim, Max Hecht, Dietmar Christian Florian Wieland, Anne Martel, Barbara Machado, Athina Zouni, Jörg Pieper. Solution Structure of the Detergent-Photosystem II Core Complex Investigated by Small-Angle Scattering Techniques. The journal of physical chemistry. B. 2020 Oct 01;124(39):8583-8592

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PMID: 32816484

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