BBA - Bioenergetics (v.1709, #2)

EPR characterisation of the triplet state in photosystem II reaction centers with singly reduced primary acceptor QA by W. Onno Feikema; Peter Gast; Irina B. Klenina; Ivan I. Proskuryakov (105-112).
The triplet states of photosystem II core particles from spinach were studied using time-resolved cw EPR technique at different reduction states of the iron–quinone complex of the reaction center primary electron acceptor. With doubly reduced primary acceptor, the well-known photosystem II triplet state characterised by zero-field splitting parameters |D| = 0.0286 cm−1, |E| = 0.0044 cm−1 was detected. When the primary acceptor was singly reduced either chemically or photochemically, a triplet state of a different spectral shape was observed, bearing the same D and E values and characteristic spin polarization pattern arising from RC radical pair recombination. The latter triplet state was strongly temperature dependent disappearing at T  = 100 K, and had a much faster decay than the former one. Based on its properties, this triplet state was also ascribed to the photosystem II reaction center. A sequence of electron-transfer events in the reaction centers is proposed that explains the dependence of the triplet state properties on the reduction state of the iron–quinone primary acceptor complex.
Keywords: Photosystem II; Triplet state; Time-resolved EPR;

This study deals with the effects of the agents that dissipate the individual components of the proton motive force (short-chain fatty acids, nigericin, and valinomycin) upon the methyl viologen-coupled nitrate reductase activity in intact cells. Substitution of butyrate or acetate for chloride in Tris-buffered assay media resulted in a marked inhibition at pH 7. In a Tris–chloride buffer of neutral pH, the reaction was almost fully inhibitable by nigericin. Alkalinisation increased the IC50 value for nigericin and decreased the maximal inhibition attained. Both types of inhibitions could be reversed by the permeabilisation of cells or by the addition of nitrite, and that caused by nigericin disappeared at high extracellular concentrations of potassium. These data indicate that nitrate transport step relies heavily on the pH gradient at neutral pH. Since the affinity of cells for nitrate was strongly diminished by imposing an inside-positive potassium (or lithium) diffusion potential at alkaline external pH, a potential dependent step may be of significance in the transporter cycle under these conditions. Experiments with sodium-depleted media provided no hints for Na+ as a possible H+ substitute.
Keywords: Nitrate transport; Proton symport; pH gradient; Ionophore; Bacteria;

Circular dichroism of the peripheral chlorophylls in photosystem II reaction centers revealed by electrochemical oxidation by Tatyana N. Kropacheva; Marta Germano; Giuseppe Zucchelli; Robert C. Jennings; Hans J. van Gorkom (119-126).
Visible absorption spectra and circular dichroism (CD) of the red absorption band of isolated photosystem II reaction centers were measured at room temperature during progressive bleaching by electrochemical oxidation, in comparison with aerobic photochemical destruction, and with anaerobic photooxidation in the presence of the artificial electron acceptor silicomolybdate. Initially, selective bleaching of peripheral chlorophylls absorbing at 672 nm was obtained by electrochemical oxidation at +0.9 V, whereas little selectivity was observed at higher potentials. Illumination in the presence of silicomolybdate did not cause a bleaching but a spectral broadening of the 672-nm band was observed, apparently in response to the oxidation of carotene. The 672-nm absorption band is shown to exhibit a positive CD, which accounts for the 674-nm shoulder in CD spectra at low temperature. The origin of this CD is discussed in view of the observation that all CD disappears with the 680-nm absorption band during aerobic photodestruction.
Keywords: Photosystem II; Reaction center; Electrochemical oxidation; Circular dichroism;

Ca2+-induced mitochondrial depolarization was studied in single isolated rat brain and liver mitochondria. Digital imaging techniques and rhodamine 123 were used for mitochondrial membrane potential measurements. Low Ca2+ concentrations (about 30–100 nM) initiated oscillations of the membrane potential followed by complete depolarization in brain mitochondria. In contrast, liver mitochondria were less sensitive to Ca2+; 20 μM Ca2+ was required to depolarize liver mitochondria. Ca2+ did not initiate oscillatory depolarizations in liver mitochondria, where each individual mitochondrion depolarized abruptly and irreversibly. Adenine nucleotides dramatically reduced the oscillatory depolarization in brain mitochondria and delayed the onset of the depolarization in liver mitochondria. In both type of mitochondria, the stabilizing effect of adenine nucleotides completely abolished by an inhibition of adenine nucleotide translocator function with carboxyatractyloside, but was not sensitive to bongkrekic acid. Inhibitors of mitochondrial permeability transition cyclosporine A and bongkrekic acid also delayed Ca2+-depolarization. We hypothesize that the oscillatory depolarization in brain mitochondria is associated with the transient conformational change of the adenine nucleotide translocator from a specific transporter to a non-specific pore, whereas the non-oscillatory depolarization in liver mitochondria is caused by the irreversible opening of the pore.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Calcium; ATP; Adenine nucleotide translocator; Permeability transition; Membrane potential;

On the basis of experiments with singlet quenchers and in agreement with previous data, it is suggested that a population of energetically weakly coupled chlorophylls may play a central role in photoinhibition in vivo and in vitro. In the present study, we have used steady state fluorescence techniques to gain direct evidence for these uncoupled chlorophylls. Due to the presence of their emission maxima, near 650 nm and more prominently in the 670–675 nm interval both chlorophylls b and a seem to be involved. A straightforward mathematical model is developed to describe the data which allows us to conclude that the uncoupled/weakly coupled population size is in the range of 1–3 molecules per photosystem.
Keywords: Photoinhibition; Non-photochemical quenching; Fluorescence emission; Thylakoids; Uncoupled chlorophyll;

Mitochondrial uncoupling proteins only catalyse proton transport when they are activated. Activators include superoxide and reactive alkenals, suggesting new physiological functions for UCP2 and UCP3: their activation by superoxide when protonmotive force is high causes mild uncoupling, which lowers protonmotive force and attenuates superoxide generation by the electron transport chain. This feedback loop acts to prevent excessive mitochondrial superoxide production. Superoxide inactivates aconitase in the mitochondrial matrix, so aconitase activity provides a sensitive measure of the effects of UCPs on matrix superoxide. We find that inhibition of UCP3 in isolated skeletal muscle mitochondria by GDP decreases aconitase activity by 25% after 20 min incubation. The GDP effect is absent in skeletal muscle mitochondria from UCP3 knockout mice, showing that it is mediated by UCP3. Protection of aconitase by UCP3 in the absence of nucleotides does not require added fatty acids. The purine nucleoside diphosphates and triphosphates cause aconitase inactivation, but the monophosphates and CDP do not, consistent with the known nucleotide specificity of UCP3. The IC50 for GDP is about 100 μM. These findings support the proposal that UCP3 attenuates endogenous radical production by the mitochondrial electron transport chain at high protonmotive force.
Keywords: Aconitase; UCP3; Superoxide; Reactive oxygen species; Mitochondria;

Protein sequence similarities and predicted structures identified 75 mitochondrial transport proteins (37 subfamilies) from among the 28,994 human RefSeq (NCBI) protein sequences. All, except two, have an E-value of less than 4e−05 with respect to the structure of the single subunit bovine ADP/ATP carrier/carboxyatractyloside complex (bAAC/CAT) (mGenThreader program). The two 30-kDa exceptions have E-values of 0.003 and 0.005. 21 have been functionally identified and belong to 14 subfamilies. A subset of subfamilies with sequence similarities for each of 12 different protein regions was identified. Many of the 12 protein regions for each tested protein yielded different size subsets. The sum of subfamilies in the 12 subsets was lowest for the phosphate transport protein (PTP) and highest for aralar 1. Transmembrane sequences are most unique. Sequence similarities are highest near the membrane center and matrix. They are highest for the region of transmembrane helices H1, H2 and connecting matrix loop 12 and smallest for transmembrane helices H3, H4 and loop 34. These sequence similarities and the predicted high similarities to the bAAC/CAT structure point to common structural/functional elements that could include subunit/subunit contact sites as they have been identified for PTP and AAC. The four residues protein segment (SerLysGlnIle) of loop 12 is the only segment projecting into the center of the funnel-like structure of the bAAC/CAT. It is present in its entirety only in the AACs and with some replacements in the large Ca2+-modulated aspartate/glutamate transporters. Other transporters have deletions and replacements in this region of loop 12. This protein segment with its central location and variation in size and composition likely contributes to the substrate specificity of the transporters.
Keywords: Human; Mitochondria; Transport; Protein; Carrier; Family;

Previous studies have demonstrated that the mitochondrial respiratory chain and cytochrome c oxidase participate in oxygen sensing and the induction of some hypoxic nuclear genes in eukaryotes. In addition, it has been proposed that mitochondrially-generated reactive oxygen and nitrogen species function as signals in a signaling pathway for the induction of hypoxic genes. To gain insight concerning this pathway, we have looked at changes in the functionality of the yeast respiratory chain as cells experience a shift from normoxia to anoxia. These studies have revealed that yeast cells retain the ability to respire at normoxic levels for up to 4 h after a shift and that the mitochondrial cytochrome levels drop rapidly to 30–50% of their normoxic levels and the turnover rate of cytochrome c oxidase (COX) increases during this shift. The increase in COX turnover rate cannot be explained by replacing the aerobic isoform, Va, of cytochrome c oxidase subunit V with the more active hypoxic isoform, Vb. We have also found that mitochondria retain the ability to respire, albeit at reduced levels, in anoxic cells, indicating that yeast cells maintain a functional mitochondrial respiratory chain in the absence of oxygen. This raises the intriguing possibility that the mitochondrial respiratory chain has a previously unexplored role in anoxic cells and may function with an alternative electron acceptor when oxygen is unavailable.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Hypoxia; Cytochrome oxidase isozyme; Oxygen sensing;

The bacterial-like lactate shuttle components from heterotrophic Euglena gracilis by Ricardo Jasso-Chávez; Israel García-Cano; Álvaro Marín-Hernández; David Mendoza-Cózatl; Juan Luis Rendón; Rafael Moreno-Sánchez (181-190).
The structural and kinetic analyses of the components of the lactate shuttle from heterotrophic Euglena gracilis were carried out. Mitochondrial membrane-bound, NAD+-independent d-lactate dehydrogenase (d-iLDH) was purified by solubilization with CHAPS and heat treatment. The active enzyme was a 62-kDa monomer containing non-covalently bound FAD as cofactor. d-iLDH was specific for d-lactate and it was able to reduce quinones of different redox potential values. Oxalate and l-lactate were mixed-type inhibitors of d-iLDH. Mitochondrial l-iLDH also catalyzed the reduction of quinones, but it was inactivated during the extraction with detergents. Both l-iLDH and d-iLDH were inhibited by the specific flavoprotein-inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium, suggesting that l-iLDH was also a flavoprotein. Affinity chromatography revealed that the E. gracilis cytosolic fraction contained two types of NAD+-dependent LDH specific for the generation of d- and l-lactate (d-nLDH and l-nLDH, respectively). These two enzymes were tetramers of 126–132 kDa and showed an ordered bi–bi kinetic mechanism. Kinetic properties were different in both enzymes. Pyruvate reduction by d-nLDH was inhibited by its two products; the d-lactate oxidation was 40-fold lower than forward reaction. l-lactate oxidation by l-nLDH was not detected, whereas pyruvate reduction was activated by fructose-1, 6-bisphosphate, K+ or NH4 +. Interestingly, membrane-bound l- and d-lactate dehydrogenases with quinone reductase activity have been only detected in bacteria, whereas the activity of soluble d-nLDH has been identified in bacteria and some yeast. Also, FBP-activated l-nLDH has been found solely in lactic bacteria. Based on their similar kinetic and structural characteristics, a possible common origin among bacterial and E. gracilis lactic dehydrogenase enzymes is discussed.
Keywords: Membrane-bound lactate dehydrogenase; NAD+-dependent lactate dehydrogenase; Mitochondrion; Energy metabolism;