Assembly of the Major Light-Harvesting Complex II in Lipid Nanodiscs

Section of Biophysics, Faculty of Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Biophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 3.97). 11/2011; 101(10):2507-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2011.09.055
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Self-aggregation of isolated plant light-harvesting complexes (LHCs) upon detergent extraction is associated with fluorescence quenching and is used as an in vitro model to study the photophysical processes of nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ). In the NPQ state, in vivo induced under excess solar light conditions, harmful excitation energy is safely dissipated as heat. To prevent self-aggregation and probe the conformations of LHCs in a lipid environment devoid from detergent interactions, we assembled LHCII trimer complexes into lipid nanodiscs consisting of a bilayer lipid matrix surrounded by a membrane scaffold protein (MSP). The LHCII nanodiscs were characterized by fluorescence spectroscopy and found to be in an unquenched, fluorescent state. Remarkably, the absorbance spectra of LHCII in lipid nanodiscs show fine structure in the carotenoid and Q(y) region that is different from unquenched, detergent-solubilized LHCII but similar to that of self-aggregated, quenched LHCII in low-detergent buffer without magnesium ions. The nanodisc data presented here suggest that 1), LHCII pigment-protein complexes undergo conformational changes upon assembly in nanodiscs that are not correlated with downregulation of its light-harvesting function; and 2), these effects can be separated from quenching and aggregation-related phenomena. This will expand our present view of the conformational flexibility of LHCII in different microenvironments.

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Available from: Willem J Degrip, Oct 05, 2015
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    • "In these measurements, the degree of fluorescence quenching was strongly dependent on the level of aggregation (itself related to the amount of detergent removed from the solution) or on the protein-to-lipid ratio in proteoliposomes . Short components (300–400 ps) were also measured for LHCII incorporated in nanodiscs, but they were proposed to originate from a small number of LHCII aggregates of size \100 nm and to be unrelated to the incorporation of LHCII into nanodiscs (Pandit et al. 2011). Since ultracentrifugation and SEC data exclude the possibility of aggregation of A8-35-trapped LHCII, it can be concluded that the 230-ps component originates from a quenched conformation of trimeric LHCII. "
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    ABSTRACT: The trimeric light-harvesting complexes II (LHCII) of plants and green algae are pigment-protein complexes involved in light harvesting and photoprotection. Different conformational states have been proposed to be responsible for their different functions. At present, detergent-solubilized LHCII is used as a model for the "light-harvesting conformation", whereas the "quenched conformation" is mimicked by LHCII aggregates. However, none of these conditions seem to perfectly reproduce the properties of LHCII in vivo. In addition, several monomeric LHC complexes are not fully stable in detergent. There is thus a need to find conditions that allow analyzing LHCs in vitro in stable and, hopefully, more native-like conformations. Here, we report a study of LHCII, the major antenna complex of plants, in complex with amphipols. We have trapped trimeric LHCII and monomeric Lhcb1 with either polyanionic or non-ionic amphipols and studied the effect of these polymers on the properties of the complexes. We show that, as compared to detergent solutions, amphipols have a stabilizing effect on LHCII. We also show that the average fluorescence lifetime of LHCII trapped in an anionic amphipol is ~30 % shorter than in α-dodecylmaltoside, due to the presence of a conformation with 230-ps lifetime that is not present in detergent solutions.
    Journal of Membrane Biology 08/2014; 247(9-10). DOI:10.1007/s00232-014-9712-6 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    • "Examples of plant membrane proteins reconstituted in nanodiscs are rare. One example of this approach is the isolation of trimeric light-harvesting complex (LHCII) from spinach and its reconstitution into asolectin nanodiscs (Pandit et al. 2011). The absorbance and fluorescence spectra differed between nanodisc and surfactant-solubilized LHCII, implying differences in conformations of LHCII and their micro-environments. "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Membrane proteins control fundamental processes that are inherent to nearly all forms of life such as transport of molecules, catalysis, signaling, vesicle fusion, sensing of chemical and physical stimuli from the environment, and cell-cell interactions. Membrane proteins are harbored within a non-equilibrium fluid-like environment of biological membranes that separate cellular and non-cellular environments, as well as in compartmentalized cellular organelles. One of the classes of membrane proteins that will be specifically treated in this article are transport proteins of plant origin, that facilitate material and energy transfer at the membrane boundaries. These proteins import essential nutrients, export cellular metabolites, maintain ionic and osmotic equilibriums and mediate signal transduction. The aim of this article is to report on the progress of membrane protein functional and structural relationships, with a focus on producing stable and functional proteins suitable for structural and biophysical studies. We interlink membrane protein production primarily through wheat-germ cell-free protein synthesis (WG-CFPS) with the growing repertoire of membrane mimicking environments in the form of lipids, surfactants, amphipathic surfactant polymers, liposomes and nanodiscs that keep membrane proteins soluble. It is hoped that the advancements in these fields could increase the number of elucidated structures, in particular those of plant membrane proteins, and contribute to bridging of the gap between structures of soluble and membrane proteins, the latter being comparatively low.
    Molecular Membrane Biology 01/2013; 30(3). DOI:10.3109/09687688.2012.762125 · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The maximum chlorophyll fluorescence lifetime in isolated photosystem II (PSII) light-harvesting complex (LHCII) antenna is 4 ns; however, it is quenched to 2 ns in intact thylakoid membranes when PSII reaction centers (RCIIs) are closed (Fm). It has been proposed that the closed state of RCIIs is responsible for the quenching. We investigated this proposal using a new, to our knowledge, model system in which the concentration of RCIIs was highly reduced within the thylakoid membrane. The system was developed in Arabidopsis thaliana plants under long-term treatment with lincomycin, a chloroplast protein synthesis inhibitor. The treatment led to 1), a decreased concentration of RCIIs to 10% of the control level and, interestingly, an increased antenna component; 2), an average reduction in the yield of photochemistry to 0.2; and 3), an increased nonphotochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching (NPQ). Despite these changes, the average fluorescence lifetimes measured in Fm and Fm' (with NPQ) states were nearly identical to those obtained from the control. A 77 K fluorescence spectrum analysis of treated PSII membranes showed the typical features of preaggregation of LHCII, indicating that the state of LHCII antenna in the dark-adapted photosynthetic membrane is sufficient to determine the 2 ns Fm lifetime. Therefore, we conclude that the closed RCs do not cause quenching of excitation in the PSII antenna, and play no role in the formation of NPQ.
    Biophysical Journal 06/2012; 102(12):2761-71. DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2012.05.004 · 3.97 Impact Factor
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