Thr-90 Plays a Vital Role in the Structure and Function of Bacteriorhodopsin

Alex Perálvarez-Marín, Mercedes Márquez, José Luis Bourdelande, Enric Querol, Esteve Padrós

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The role of Thr-90 in the bacteriorhodopsin structure and function was investigated by its replacement with Ala and Val. The mutant D115A was also studied because Asp-115 in helix D forms a hydrogen bond with Thr-90 in helix C. Differential scanning calorimetry showed a decreased thermal stability of all three mutants, with T90A being the least stable. Light-dark adaptation of T90A was found to be abnormal and salt-dependent. Proton transport monitored using pyranine signals was ∼10% of wild type for T90A, 20% for T90V, and 50% for D115A. At neutral or alkaline pH, the M rise of these mutants was faster than that of wild type, whereas M decay was slower in T90A. Overall, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) difference spectra of T90A were strongly pH-dependent. Spectra recorded on films adjusted at the same pH at 243 or 277 K, dry or wet, showed similar features. The D115A and T90V FTIR spectra were closer to WT, showing minor structural differences. The band at 1734 cm-1 of the deconvoluted FTIR spectrum, corresponding to the carboxylate of Asp-115, was absent in all mutants. In conclusion, Thr-90 plays a critical role in maintaining the operative location and structure of helix C through three complementary interactions, namely an interhelical hydrogen bond with Asp-115, an intrahelical hydrogen bond with the peptide carbonyl oxygen of Trp-86, and a steric contact with the retinal. The interactions established by Thr-90 emerge as a general feature of archaeal rhodopsin proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16403-16409
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2004


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