pH Dependence of the photocycle kinetics of the E46Q mutant of photoactive yellow protein: protonation equilibrium between I1 and I2 intermediates, chromophore deprotonation by hydroxyl uptake, and protonation relaxation of the dark state.Biochemistry. 2003 Jul 29; 42(29):8780-90.B
The kinetics of the photocycle of PYP and its mutants E46Q and E46A were investigated as a function of pH. E46 is the putative donor of the chromophore which becomes protonated in the I(2) intermediate. For E46Q we find that I(2) is in a pH-dependent equilibrium with its precursor I(1)' with a pK(a) of 8.15 and n = 1. From this result and from experiments with pH indicator dyes, we conclude that in the I(1)' to I(2) transition one proton is taken up from the external medium. The pK(a) of 8.15 is that of the surface-exposed chromophore in the equilibrium between I(1)' and I(2) and is close to that of the phenolate group of p-hydroxycinnamic acid. The pH-dependent I(1)'/I(2) equilibrium with associated H(+) uptake is reminiscent of the M(I)/M(II) equilibrium in the formation of the signaling state of rhodopsin. Well above this pK(a) no I(2) is formed and I(1)' returns in a pH-independent manner to the initial state P. The decay rate for the return to P via I(2) is between pH 4 and pH 8, exactly proportional to the hydroxide concentration (first order), and the deprotonation of the chromophore in this transition occurs by hydroxide uptake. Well above the pK(a) of 8.15 the apparent rate constant for the return to P is constant due to the branching from I(1)'. Complementary measurements with the pH indicator dye cresol red at pH 8.3 show that the remaining PYP molecules that still cycle via I(2) take up one proton in the formation of I(2). Together, these observations provide compelling evidence that during the photocycle the chromophore in E46Q is protonated and deprotonated from the external medium. For the yellow form of the mutant E46A the apparent rate constant for the return to P is also linear in [OH(-)] below about pH 8.3 and constant above about pH 9.5, with a pK(a) value of 8.8 for I(1)', suggesting a similar mechanism of chromophore protonation/deprotonation as in E46Q. For wild type qualitatively similar observations were made: the amplitude of I(2) decreased at alkaline pH, I(1)' and I(2) were in equilibrium, and I(1)' decayed together with the return to P. Chromophore hydrolysis prevented, however, an accurate determination of the pK(a) of I(1)'. We estimate that its value is above 11. The ground state P is in the dark in a pH-dependent equilibrium with a low-pH bleached form P(bl) with protonated chromophore. The pK(a) values for these equilibria are 4.8 and 7.9 for E46Q and E46A, respectively. When the pH is close to these pK(a)'s, the kinetics of the photocycle contains additional components in the millisecond time range. Using pH-jump stopped-flow experiments, we show that these contributions are due to the relaxation of the P/P(bl) equilibrium which is perturbed by the rapid decrease in the P concentration caused by the flash excitation of P. The condition for the occurrence of this effect is that the relaxation time of the P/P(bl) equilibrium is faster than the photocycle time.