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The X-ray-derived Photosystem II (PS II) structure from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus vulcanus (Protein Data Bank entry 4UB6) indicates Phe239 of the DE loop of the D1 protein forms a hydrophobic interaction with Pro27 and Ile29 at the C-terminus of the 5 kDa PsbT protein found at the monomer-monomer interface of the PS II dimer. To investigate the importance of this interaction, we created the F239A and F239L mutants in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 through targeted mutagenesis of the D1:Phe239 residue into either an alanine or a leucine. Under moderate-light conditions, the F239A strain displayed reduced rates of oxygen evolution and impaired rates of fluorescence decay following a single-turnover actinic flash, while the F239L strain behaved like the control; however, under high-light conditions, the F239A and F239L strains grew more slowly than the control. Our results indicate the quinone-iron acceptor complex becomes more accessible to exogenously added electron acceptors in the F239A mutant and a ΔPsbT strain when compared with the control and F239L strains. This led to the hypothesis that the interaction between D1:Phe239 and the PsbT subunit is required to restrict movement of the DE loop of the D1 subunit, and we suggest disruption of this interaction may perturb the binding of bicarbonate to the non-heme iron and contribute to the signal for PS II to undergo repair following photodamage.


Jack A Forsman, Julian J Eaton-Rye. The Interaction between PsbT and the DE Loop of D1 in Photosystem II Stabilizes the Quinone-Iron Electron Acceptor Complex. Biochemistry. 2021 Jan 12;60(1):53-63

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PMID: 33332101

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