Pharaonis phoborhodopsin (ppR, also called pharaonis sensory rhodopsin II, psRII) is a receptor for negative phototaxis in Natronomonas pharaonis. In membranes, it forms a 2:2 complex with its transducer protein pHtrII, and the association is weakened by 2 orders of magnitude in the M intermediate (ppR M). Such a change is believed to correspond to the transfer of the light signal to pHtrII. A previous Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) study observed hydrogen-bonding alteration of Asn74 in pHtrII in the M state, suggesting a light-signaling pathway from the receptor to the transducer [Furutani, Y., Kamada, K., Sudo, Y., Shimono, K., Kamo, N., and Kandori, H. (2005) Biochemistry 44, 2909-2915]. In this paper, we measure temperature dependence of the ppRM minus ppR spectra in the absence and presence of pHtrII at 250-293 K. Significant temperature dependence was observed for the amide-I vibrations of helices only for the ppR/pHtrII complex, where the amplitude of amide-I vibrations was reduced at room temperature. 13C-Labeling of ppR or pHtrII revealed that such spectral changes of helices originate from ppR and not pHtrII. The hydrogen-bonding alteration of Asn74 in pHtrII was temperature-independent, implying that the observed helical structural perturbation in ppR takes place in different region. On the other hand, temperature-dependent structural changes of helices were diminished for the complex of ppR with the G83C and G83F mutants of pHtrII. Gly83 is believed to connect the transmembrane helix and cytosolic linker region in a flexible kink near the membrane surface of pHtrII, and its replacement by Cys or Phe abolishes the photosensory function. The present study provides direct experimental evidence that Gly83 plays an important structural role in the activation processes of the ppR/pHtrII complex. A molecular mechanism of protein structural changes in the ppR/pHtrII complex is discussed on the basis of the present FTIR results.
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