, Volume 88, Issue 2, pp 159-171
Date: 19 Apr 2006

Investigation of Rhodobacter capsulatus PufX interactions in the core complex of the photosynthetic apparatus

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The photosynthetic apparatus of purple bacteria in the genus Rhodobacter includes a core complex consisting of the reaction centre (RC), light-harvesting complex 1 (LH1), and the PufX protein. PufX modulates LH1 structure and facilitates photosynthetic quinone/quinol exchange. We deleted RC/LH1 genes in pufX + and pufX ++ (merodiploid) strains of Rhodobacter capsulatus, which reduced PufX levels regardless of pufX gene copy number and location. Photosynthetic growth of RC-only strains and independent assembly kinetics of the RC and LH1 were unaffected by pufX merodiploidy, but the absorption spectra of strains expressing the RC plus either LH1 α or β indicated that PufX may influence bacteriochlorophyll binding environments. Significant self-association of the PufX transmembrane segment was detected in a hybrid protein expression system, consistent with a role of PufX in core complex dimerization, as proposed for other Rhodobacter species. Our results indicate that in R. capsulatus PufX has the potential to be a central, homodimeric core complex component, and its cellular level is increased by interactions with the RC and LH1.