BBA - Bioenergetics (v.1460, #1)

Bacteriorhodopsin by Janos K Lanyi (1-3).

The folding mechanism of integral membrane proteins has eluded detailed study, largely as a result of the inherent difficulties in folding these proteins in vitro. The seven-transmembrane helical protein bacteriorhodopsin has, however, allowed major advances to be made, not just on the folding of this particular protein, but also on the factors governing folding of transmembrane α-helical proteins in general. This review focusses on kinetic and equilibrium studies of bacteriorhodopsin folding in vitro. It covers what is currently known about secondary and tertiary structure formation as well as the events accompanying retinal binding, for protein in detergent and lipid systems, including native membrane samples.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Protein folding; Membrane protein; Membrane lipid; Lateral pressure;

Structural determinants of purple membrane assembly by Mark P Krebs; Thomas A Isenbarger (15-26).
The purple membrane is a two-dimensional crystalline lattice formed by bacteriorhodopsin and lipid molecules in the cytoplasmic membrane of Halobacterium salinarum. High-resolution structural studies, in conjunction with detailed knowledge of the lipid composition, make the purple membrane one of the best models for elucidating the forces that are responsible for the assembly and stability of integral membrane protein complexes. In this review, recent mutational efforts to identify the structural features of bacteriorhodopsin that determine its assembly in the purple membrane are discussed in the context of structural, calorimetric and reconstitution studies. Quantitative evidence is presented that interactions between transmembrane helices of neighboring bacteriorhodopsin molecules contribute to purple membrane assembly. However, other specific interactions, particularly between bacteriorhodopsin and lipid molecules, may provide the major driving force for assembly. Elucidating the molecular basis of protein–protein and protein–lipid interactions in the purple membrane may provide insights into the formation of integral membrane protein complexes in other systems.
Keywords: Membrane protein assembly; Two-dimensional crystallization; Protein–lipid interaction;

Atomic force microscopy of native purple membrane by Daniel J. Müller; J.Bernard Heymann; Filipp Oesterhelt; Clemens Möller; Hermann Gaub; Georg Büldt; Andreas Engel (27-38).
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) allows the observation of surface structures of purple membrane (PM) in buffer solution with subnanometer resolution. This offers the possibility to classify the major conformations of the native bacteriorhodopsin (BR) surfaces and to map the variability of individual polypeptide loops connecting transmembrane α-helices of BR. The position, the variability and the flexibility of these loops depend on the packing arrangement of BR molecules in the lipid bilayer with significant differences observed between the trigonal and orthorhombic crystal forms. Cleavage of the Schiff base bond leads to a disassembly of the trigonal PM crystal, which is restored by regenerating the bleached PM. The combination of single molecule AFM imaging and single molecule force-spectroscopy provides an unique insight into the interactions between individual BR molecules and the PM, and between secondary structure elements within BR.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Halobacterium salinarum; Polypeptide loop; Purple membrane; Structural flexibility; Structural variability; Surface structure; Membrane protein interaction;

Conformation and backbone dynamics of bacteriorhodopsin revealed by 13C-NMR by Hazime Saitô; Satoru Tuzi; Satoru Yamaguchi; Michikazu Tanio; Akira Naito (39-48).
It is demonstrated here how the secondary structure and dynamics of transmembrane helices, as well as surface residues, such as interhelical loops and N- or C-terminus of bacteriorhodopsin (bR) in purple membrane, can be determined at ambient temperature based on very simple 13C-NMR measurements, together with a brief experimental background. In contrast to the static picture of bR, currently available from X-ray diffraction or cryo-electron microscopy, the structure consists of dynamically heterogeneous domains which undergo various types of local fluctuations with a frequency range of 102--10 8 Hz. The significance of this picture is discussed in relation to the biological function of this protein.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Conformation; Dynamics; 13C-NMR; Solid-state NMR; Conformation-dependent 13C chemical shift;

As a result of the number of new high-resolution structures of the pigment and some of its photointermediates, a realistic model for the functioning of bacteriorhodopsin seems to be finally emerging. However, lack of structural information for some of the key functional states, and contradictions between some published structural models, argue for the use of the synthetic approach, one that includes use of data from both crystallographic and mutagenesis studies. The role of mutagenesis in this synthetic approach falls into two categories. First, to provide additional structural information, and second, to test the predictions of structural models by studying mutant phenotypes. This review urges critical comparisons of the structural and mutagenesis data, as there are problems with their selective and indiscriminate use.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Protein structure; Proton pumping; Crystallography; Mutagenesis; Proton pathway;

Light-induced isomerization leads to orientational changes of the retinylidene chromophore of bacteriorhodopsin in its binding pocket. The chromophore reorientation has been characterized by the following methods: polarized absorption spectroscopy in the visible, UV and IR; polarized resonance Raman scattering; solid-state deuterium nuclear magnetic resonance; neutron and X-ray diffraction. Most of these experiments were performed at low temperatures with bacteriorhodopsin trapped in one or a mixture of intermediates. Time-resolved measurements at room temperature with bacteriorhodopsin in aqueous suspension can currently only be carried out with transient polarized absorption spectroscopy in the visible. The results obtained to date for the initial state and the K, L and M intermediates are presented and discussed. The most extensive data are available for the M intermediate, which plays an essential role in the function of bacteriorhodopsin. For this intermediate the various methods lead to a consistent picture: the curved all-trans polyene chain in the initial state straightens out in the M intermediate (13-cis) and the chain segment between C5 and C13 tilts upwards in the direction of the cytoplasmic surface. The kink at C13 allows the positions of β-ionone ring and Schiff base nitrogen to remain approximately fixed.
Keywords: 2H NMR; Linear dichroism; Neutron diffraction; X-ray diffraction; Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; Bacteriorhodopsin; Purple membrane; Retinal;

Light-induced changes of the proton affinities of amino acid side groups are the driving force for proton translocation in bacteriorhodopsin. Recent progress in obtaining structures of bacteriorhodopsin and its intermediates with an increasingly higher resolution, together with functional studies utilizing mutant pigments and spectroscopic methods, have provided important information on the molecular architecture of the proton transfer pathways and the key groups involved in proton transport. In the present paper I consider mechanisms of light-induced proton release and uptake and intramolecular proton transport and mechanisms of modulation of proton affinities of key groups in the framework of these data. Special attention is given to some important aspects that have surfaced recently. These are the coupling of protonation states of groups involved in proton transport, the complex titration of the counterion to the Schiff base and its origin, the role of the transient protonation of buried groups in catalysis of the chromophore’s thermal isomerization, and the relationship between proton affinities of the groups and the pH dependencies of the rate constants of the photocycle and proton transfer reactions.
Keywords: Proton affinity; Coupling of protonation states; Proton release/uptake; Proton release complex;

In recent years, significant progress has been made in elucidating the structure of bacteriorhodopsin. However, the molecular mechanism by which vectorial proton motion is enforced remains unknown. Given the advantages of a protonated Schiff base for both photoisomerization and thermal reisomerization of the chromophore, a five-state proton pump can be rationalized in which the switch in the connectivity of the Schiff base between the two sides of the membrane is decoupled from double bond isomerization. This decoupling requires tight control of the Schiff base until it is deprotonated and decisive release after it is deprotonated. NMR evidence has been obtained for both the tight control and the decisive release: strain develops in the chromophore in the first half of the photocycle and disappears after deprotonation. The strain is associated with a strong interaction between the Schiff base and its counterion, an interaction that is broken when the Schiff base deprotonates. Thus the counterion appears to play a critical role in energy transduction, controlling the Schiff base in the first half of the photocycle by ‘electrostatic steering’. NMR also detects other events during the photocycle, but it is argued that these are secondary to the central mechanism.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Energy transduction; Proton transport; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Retinal Schiff base; Electrostatic interaction;

In the photocycle of bacteriorhodopsin (bR), light-induced transfer of a proton from the Schiff base to an acceptor group located in the extracellular half of the protein, followed by reprotonation from the cytoplasmic side, are key steps in vectorial proton pumping. Between the deprotonation and reprotonation events, bR is in the M state. Diverse experiments undertaken to characterize the M state support a model in which the M state is not a static entity, but rather a progression of two or more functional substates. Structural changes occurring in the M state and in the entire photocycle of wild-type bR can be understood in the context of a model which reconciles the chloride ion-pumping phenotype of mutants D85S and D85T with the fact that bR creates a transmembrane proton-motive force.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Ion transport; M intermediate; Photocycle; Protein dynamics;

Bacteriorhodopsin is a small retinal protein found in the membrane of the halophilic bacterium Halobacterium salinarum, whose function is to pump protons across the cell membrane against an electrostatic potential, thus converting light into a proton-motive potential needed for the synthesis of ATP. Because of its relative simplicity, exceptional stability and the fundamental importance of vectorial proton pumping, bacteriorhodopsin has become one of the most important model systems in the field of bioenergetics. Recently, a novel methodology to obtain well-diffracting crystals of membrane proteins, utilizing membrane-like bicontinuous lipidic cubic phases, has been introduced, providing X-ray structures of bacteriorhodopsin and its photocycle intermediates at ever higher resolution. We describe this methodology, the new insights provided by the higher resolution ground state structures, and review the mechanistic implications of the structural intermediates reported to date. A detailed understanding of the mechanism of vectorial proton transport across the membrane is thus emerging, helping to elucidate a number of fundamental issues in bioenergetics.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Crystallization; Photocycle intermediate; Lipidic cubic phase; Membrane protein; X-Ray structure;

High-resolution X-ray crystallographic studies of bacteriorhodopsin have tremendously advanced our understanding of this light-driven ion pump during the last 2 years, and emphasized the crucial role of discrete internal water molecules in the pump cycle. In the extracellular region an extensive three-dimensional hydrogen-bonded network of protein residues and seven water molecules leads from the buried retinal Schiff base via water 402 and the initial proton acceptor Asp85 to the membrane surface. Near Lys216 where the retinal binds, transmembrane helix G contains a π-bulge that causes a non-proline kink. The bulge is stabilized by hydrogen bonding of the main chain carbonyl groups of Ala215 and Lys216 with two buried water molecules located in the otherwise very hydrophobic region between the Schiff base and the proton donor Asp96 in the cytoplasmic region. The M intermediate trapped in the D96N mutant corresponds to a late M state in the transport cycle, after protonation of Asp85 and release of a proton to the extracellular membrane surface, but before reprotonation of the deprotonated retinal Schiff base. The M intermediate from the E204Q mutant corresponds to an earlier M, as in this mutant the Schiff base deprotonates without proton release. The structures of these two M states reveal progressive displacements of the retinal, main chain and side chains induced by photoisomerization of the retinal to 13-cis,15-anti, and an extensive rearrangement of the three-dimensional network of hydrogen-bonded residues and bound water that accounts for the changed pK as of the Schiff base, Asp85, the proton release group and Asp96. The structure for the M state from E204Q suggests, moreover, that relaxation of the steric conflicts of the distorted 13-cis,15-anti retinal plays a critical role in the reprotonation of the Schiff base by Asp96. Two additional waters now connect Asp96 to the carbonyl of residue 216, in what appears to be the beginning of a hydrogen-bonded chain that would later extend to the retinal Schiff base. Based on the ground state and M intermediate structures, models of the molecular events in the early part of the photocycle are presented, including a novel model which proposes that bacteriorhodopsin pumps hydroxide (OH) ions from the extracellular to the cytoplasmic side.
Keywords: High-resolution membrane protein structure; Light-driven ion transport; Ion pump mechanism;

A variety of neutron, X-ray and electron diffraction experiments have established that the transmembrane regions of bacteriorhodopsin undergo significant light-induced changes in conformation during the course of the photocycle. A recent comprehensive electron crystallographic analysis of light-driven structural changes in wild-type bacteriorhodopsin and a number of mutants has established that a single, large protein conformational change occurs within 1 ms after illumination, roughly coincident with the time scale of formation of the M2 intermediate in the photocycle of wild-type bacteriorhodopsin. Minor differences in structural changes that are observed in mutants that display long-lived M2, N or O intermediates are best described as variations of one fundamental type of conformational change, rather than representing structural changes that are unique to the optical intermediate that is accumulated. These observations support a model for the photocycle of wild-type bacteriorhodopsin in which the structures of the initial state and the early intermediates (K, L and M1) are well approximated by one protein conformation in which the Schiff base has extracellular accessibility, while the structures of the later intermediates (M2, N and O) are well approximated by the other protein conformation in which the Schiff base has cytoplasmic accessibility.
Keywords: Electron microscopy; Time-resolved crystallography;

It is widely accepted that bacteriorhodopsin undergoes global conformational changes during its photocycle. In this review, the structural properties of the M and N intermediates are described in detail. Based on the clarified global conformational change, we propose a model for the molecular mechanism of the proton pump. The global structural change is suggested to be a key component in establishing vectorial proton transport.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Structure of photointermediate; X-Ray diffraction; Proton pump mechanism; Light-induced conformational change;

Internal water molecules are considered to play a crucial role in the functional processes of proton pump proteins. They may participate in hydrogen-bonding networks inside proteins that constitute proton pathways. In addition, they could participate in the switch reaction by mediating an essential proton transfer at the active site. Nevertheless, little has been known about the structure and function of internal water molecules in such proteins. Recent progress in infrared spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography provided new information on water molecules inside bacteriorhodopsin, the light-driven proton pump. The accumulated knowledge on bacteriorhodopsin in the last decade of the 20th century will lead to a realistic picture of internal water molecules at work in the 21st century. In this review, I describe how the role of water molecules has been studied in bacteriorhodopsin, and what should be known about the role of water molecules in the future.
Keywords: Hydrogen bond; Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; O-H vibration; Mutant; Vectorial transport; Switch;

Water and bacteriorhodopsin: structure, dynamics, and function by Norbert A. Dencher; Hans Jürgen Sass; Georg Büldt (192-203).
A wealth of information has been gathered during the past decades that water molecules do play an important role in the structure, dynamics, and function of bacteriorhodopsin (bR) and purple membrane. Light-induced structural alterations in bR as detected by X-ray and neutron diffraction at low and high resolution are discussed in relationship to the mechanism of proton pumping. The analysis of high resolution intermediate structures revealed photon-induced rearrangements of water molecules and hydrogen bonds concomitant with conformational changes in the chromophore and the protein. These observations led to an understanding of key features of the pumping mechanism, especially the vectoriality and the different modes of proton translocation in the proton release and uptake domain of bR. In addition, water molecules influence the function of bR via equilibrium fluctuations, which must occur with adequate amplitude so that energy barriers between conformational states can be overcome.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Proton pumping; Photocycle; Purple membrane; Neutron scattering; X-Ray diffraction;

The possible mechanisms of electrogenic processes accompanying proton transport in bacteriorhodopsin are discussed on the basis of recent structural data of the protein. Apparent inconsistencies between experimental data and their interpretation are considered. Special emphasis is placed on the protein conformational changes accompanying the reprotonation of chromophore and proton uptake stage in the bacteriorhodopsin photocycle.
Keywords: Bacteriorhodopsin; Proton transport; Photocycle; Conformational change;

The light-activated proton-pumping bacteriorhodopsin and chloride ion-pumping halorhodopsin are compared. They belong to the family of retinal proteins, with 25% amino acid sequence homology. Both proteins have seven α helices across the membrane, surrounding the retinal binding pocket. Photoexcitation of all-trans retinal leads to ion transporting photocycles, which exhibit great similarities in the two proteins, despite the differences in the ion transported. The spectra of the K, L, N and O intermediates, calculated using time-resolved spectroscopic measurements, are very similar in both proteins. The absorption kinetic measurements reveal that the chloride ion transporting photocycle of halorhodopsin does not have intermediate M characteristic for deprotonated Schiff base, and intermediate L dominates the process. Energetically the photocycle of bacteriorhodopsin is driven mostly by the decrease of the entropic energy, while the photocycle of halorhodopsin is enthalpy-driven. The ion transporting steps were characterized by the electrogenicity of the intermediates, calculated from the photoinduced transient electric signal measurements. The function of both proteins could be described with the ‘local access’ model developed for bacteriorhodopsin. In the framework of this model it is easy to understand how bacteriorhodopsin can be converted into a chloride pump, and halorhodopsin into a proton pump, by changing the ion specificity with added ions or site-directed mutagenesis.
Keywords: Retinal protein; Bacteriorhodopsin; Halorhodopsin; Chloride pump; Proton pump; Photocycle;

The study of light-induced proton transfers in the archaeal sensory rhodopsins (SR), phototaxis receptors in Halobacterium salinarum, has contributed important insights into their mechanism of signaling to their cognate transducer subunits in the signaling complex. Essential features of the bacteriorhodopsin (BR) pumping mechanism have been conserved in the evolution of the sensors, which carry out light-driven electrogenic proton transport when their transducers are removed. The interaction of SRI with its transducer blocks proton-conducting channels in the receptor thereby inhibiting its proton pumping, indicating that the pump machinery, rather than the transport activity itself, is functionally important for signaling. Analysis of SRII mutants has shown that the salt bridge between the protonated Schiff base and its counterion Asp73 constrains the receptor in its inactive conformation. Similarly, in BR, the corresponding salt bridge between the protonated Schiff base and Asp85 contributes to constraining the protein in a conformation in which its cytoplasmic channel is closed. Transducer chimera studies further indicate that the receptor conformational changes are transmitted from the sensors to their cognate transducers through transmembrane helix–helix interaction. These and other results reviewed here support a signaling mechanism in which tilting of helices on the cytoplasmic side (primarily outward tilting of helix F), similar to that which occurs in BR in its open cytoplasmic channel conformation, causes structural alterations in the transducer transmembrane helices.
Keywords: Phototaxis; Signal transduction; Protein–protein interaction; Transmembrane helix–helix interaction; Proton transport;