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Issue 54, 2019
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Non-detergent isolation of a cyanobacterial photosystem I using styrene maleic acid alternating copolymers

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Abstract

Photosystem I (PSI) from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elongatus (Te) is the largest membrane protein complex to have had its structure solved by X-ray diffraction. This trimeric complex has 36 protein subunits, over 380 non-covalently bound cofactors and a molecular weight of ∼1.2 MDa. Previously, it has been isolated and characterized in a detergent micelle using the non-ionic detergent n-dodecyl-β-D-maltoside (DDM). We have now succeeded in isolating this complex without the use of detergents, using styrene–maleic acid (SMA) alternating copolymer. Intriguingly, a partially esterified copolymer formulation (SMA 1440, Cray Valley) was found to be most efficient in cyanobacterial thylakoid membranes. A host of biochemical, biophysical and functional assays have been applied to characterize this non-detergent form of PSI, referred to as a SMA Lipid Particle (SMALP). The PSI-SMALP has a lower sedimentation coefficient compared to PSI-DDM, suggesting decreased density or a more extended particle shape. We show the 77 K fluorescence maximum for PSI is red shifted in PSI-SMALP compared to PSI-DDM, suggesting a more native orientation of PsaA/B associated chlorophyll. We report that PSI-SMALPs are functional despite the selective loss of one transmembrane subunit, PsaF. This loss may reflect a more labile interaction of the PSI core and PsaF, or a selective displacement during copolymer insertion and/or assembly. PSI-SMALP exhibited decreased reduction kinetics with native recombinant cytochromes c6, while non-native horse heart cytochrome c shows faster reduction of PSI-SMALP compared to PSI-DDM. This is the largest membrane protein isolated using SMA copolymers, and this study expands the potential use of this approach for the isolation and characterization of large supramolecular complexes.

Graphical abstract: Non-detergent isolation of a cyanobacterial photosystem I using styrene maleic acid alternating copolymers

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Article information


Submitted
19 Jun 2019
Accepted
02 Oct 2019
First published
07 Oct 2019

This article is Open Access

RSC Adv., 2019,9, 31781-31796
Article type
Paper

Non-detergent isolation of a cyanobacterial photosystem I using styrene maleic acid alternating copolymers

N. G. Brady, M. Li, Y. Ma, J. C. Gumbart and B. D. Bruce, RSC Adv., 2019, 9, 31781
DOI: 10.1039/C9RA04619D

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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