A study of protein dynamics and cofactor interactions in Photosystem I
Bender, Shana Lynn
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Previous research has underscored the importance of protein dynamics during light-induced electron transfer; however, specific interactions have not been well characterized. It is of particular importance to understand the role of protein dynamics and cofactor interactions in controlling electron transfer in oxygenic photosynthesis. These factors include hydrogen bonding, ð-stacking and electrostatic interactions. Reaction-induced FT-IR spectroscopy is sensitive to these interactions as well as isotopic incorporation, and is useful to probe protein dynamics associated with light-induced electron transfer in Photosystem I (PSI). Density functional theory (DFT) provides information concerning the vibrational frequencies of molecules as well as the amplitudes of the vibrations and sensitivity to isotope incorporation. Combining these approaches, protein dynamics associated with light-induced electron transfer in PSI were studied. The work presented here describes specific protein cofactor interactions and specific protein relaxation events associated with light-induced electron transfer. The results reported here are consistent with noncovalent protein cofactor interactions that modulate the redox potential of the secondary electron acceptor of PSI. Furthermore, the studies presented here describe novel protein dynamics associated with the oxidation of the terminal electron donor of PSI. These results characterize specific protein dynamics that may be associated with interactions of the soluble electron donors. These studies highlight the importance of protein dynamics in oxygenic photosynthesis.