, Volume 95, Issue 2-3, pp 279-284

The PucC protein of Rhodobacter capsulatus mitigates an inhibitory effect of light-harvesting 2 α and β proteins on light-harvesting complex 1

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Abstract

Rhodobacter capsulatus contains lhaA and pucC genes that have been implicated in light-harvesting complex 1 and 2 (LH1 and LH2) assembly. The proteins encoded by these genes, and homologues in other photosynthetic organisms, have been classified as the bacteriochlorophyll delivery (BCD) family of the major facilitator superfamily. A new BCD family phylogenetic tree reveals that several PucC, LhaA and Orf428-related sequences each form separate clusters, while plant and cyanobacterial homologues cluster more distantly. The PucC protein is encoded in the pucBACDE superoperon which also codes for LH2 α (PucA) and β (PucB) proteins. PucC was previously shown to be necessary for formation of LH2. This article gives evidence indicating that PucC has a shepherding activity that keeps the homologous α and β proteins of LH1 and LH2 apart, allowing LH1 to assemble properly. This shepherding function was indicated by a 62% reduction in LH1 levels in ΔLHII strains carrying plasmids encoding pucBA along with a C-terminally truncated pucC gene. More severe reductions in LH1 were seen when the truncated pucC gene was co-expressed in the presence of C-terminal PucC::PhoA fusion proteins. It appears that interaction between truncated PucC::PhoA fusion proteins and the truncated PucC protein disrupts LH1 assembly, pointing towards a PucC dimeric or multimeric functional unit.