Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 84, Issue 5, pp 520–528 | Cite as

Effect of Leucine M196 Substitution by Histidine on Electronic Structure of the Primary Electron Donor and Electron Transfer in Reaction Centers from Rhodobacter sphaeroides

  • A. A. Zabelin
  • T. Yu. Fufina
  • A. M. Khristin
  • R. A. Khatypov
  • V. A. Shkuropatova
  • V. A. Shuvalov
  • L. G. Vasilieva
  • A. Ya. ShkuropatovEmail author


In our recent X-ray study, we demonstrated that substitution of the natural leucine residue M196 with histidine in the reaction center (RC) from Rhodobacter (Rba.) sphaeroides leads to formation of a close contact between the genetically introduced histidine and the primary electron donor P (bacteriochlorophylls (BChls) PA and PB dimer) creating a novel pigment—protein interaction that is not observed in native RCs. In the present work, the possible nature of this novel interaction and its effects on the electronic properties of P and the photochemical charge separation in isolated mutant RCs L(M196)H are investigated at room temperature using steady-state absorption spectroscopy, light-induced difference FTIR spectroscopy, and femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. The results are compared with the data obtained for the RCs from Rba. sphaeroides pseudo-wild type strain. It is shown that the L(M196)H mutation results in a decrease in intensity and broadening of the long-wavelength Qy absorption band of P at ∼865 nm. Due to the mutation, there is also weakening of the electronic coupling between BChls in the radical cation P+ and increase in the positive charge localization on the PA molecule. Despite the significant perturbations of the electronic structure of P, the mutant RCs retain high electron transfer rates and quantum yield of the P+Q A state (QA is the primary quinone acceptor), which is close to the one observed in the native RCs. Comparison of our results with the literature data suggests that the imidazole group of histidine M196 forms a π-hydrogen bond with the π-electron system of the PB molecule in the P dimer. It is likely that the specific (T-shaped) spatial organization of the π-hydrogen interaction and its potential heterogeneity in relation to the bonding energy is, at least partially, the reason that this type of interaction between the protein and the pigment and quinone cofactors is not realized in the native RCs.


bacterial reaction center amino acid replacement primary electron donor electronic structure electron transfer Rhodobacter sphaeroides 



absorbance change


monomeric bacteriochlorophyll in the active cofactors branch






evolution-associated decay spectra


Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy

HA and HB

BPheo molecules in the active and inactive cofactor branches, respectively


primary electron donor, BChl dimer

PA and PB

BChl molecules constituting P


pseudo-wild type


primary quinone acceptor


secondary quinone acceptor

Rba. sphaeroides

Rhodobacter sphaeroides


reaction center


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Zabelin
    • 1
  • T. Yu. Fufina
    • 1
  • A. M. Khristin
    • 1
  • R. A. Khatypov
    • 1
  • V. A. Shkuropatova
    • 1
  • V. A. Shuvalov
    • 1
  • L. G. Vasilieva
    • 1
  • A. Ya. Shkuropatov
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Basic Biological ProblemsRussian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino Scientific Center for Biological Research of the Russian Academy of SciencesPushchino, Moscow RegionRussia

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