Rui-Kun Zhao

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, United States

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Publications (6)25.1 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In this work we present the identification of redox intermediates of flavin and tryptophan after photoexcitation in glucose oxidase, Y21W AppA mutant and lAppA by the means of TRIR spectroscopy.
    03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The blue light using flavin (BLUF) domain proteins, such as the transcriptional antirepressor AppA, are a novel class of photosensors that bind flavin noncovalently in order to sense and respond to high-intensity blue (450 nm) light. Importantly, the noncovalently bound flavin chromophore is unable to undergo large-scale structural change upon light absorption, and thus there is significant interest in understanding how the BLUF protein matrix senses and responds to flavin photoexcitation. Light absorption is proposed to result in alterations in the hydrogen-bonding network that surrounds the flavin chromophore on an ultrafast time scale, and the structural changes caused by photoexcitation are being probed by vibrational spectroscopy. Here we report ultrafast time-resolved infrared spectra of the AppA BLUF domain (AppA(BLUF)) reconstituted with isotopes of FAD, specifically [U-(13)C(17)]-FAD, [xylene-(13)C(8)]-FAD, [U-(15)N(4)]-FAD, and [4-(18)O(1)]-FAD both in solution and bound to AppA(BLUF). This allows for unambiguous assignment of ground- and excited-state modes arising directly from the flavin. Studies of model compounds and DFT calculations of the ground-state vibrational spectra reveal the sensitivity of these modes to their environment, indicating they can be used as probes of structural dynamics.
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 08/2012; 116(35):10722-9. · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neutral and anionic flavin radicals are involved in numerous photochemical processes and play an essential part in forming the signaling state of various photoactive flavoproteins such as cryptochromes and BLUF domain proteins. A stable neutral radical flavin has been prepared for study in aqueous solution, and both neutral and anion radical states have been stabilized in the proteins flavodoxin and glucose oxidase. Ultrafast transient absorption measurements were performed in the visible and mid-infrared region in order to characterize the excited state dynamics and the excited and ground state vibrational spectra and to probe the effect of the protein matrix on them. These data are compared with the results of density functional theory calculations. Excited state decay dynamics were found to be a strong function of the protein matrix. The ultrafast electron transfer quenching mechanism of the excited flavin moiety in glucose oxidase is characterized by vibrational spectroscopy. Such data will be critical in the ongoing analysis of the photocycle of photoactive flavoproteins.
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 04/2012; 116(20):5810-8. · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Photoexcitation of the flavin chromophore in the BLUF photosensor AppA results in a conformational change that leads to photosensor activation. This conformational change is mediated by a hydrogen-bonding network that surrounds the flavin, and photoexcitation is known to result in changes in the network that include a strengthening of hydrogen bonding to the flavin C4═O carbonyl group. Q63 is a key residue in the hydrogen-bonding network, and replacement of this residue with a glutamate results in a photoinactive mutant. While the ultrafast time-resolved infrared (TRIR) spectrum of Q63E AppA(BLUF) is characterized by flavin carbonyl modes at 1680 and 1650 cm(-1), which are similar in frequency to the analogous modes from the light activated state of the wild-type protein, a band is also observed in the TRIR spectrum at 1724 cm(-1) that is unambiguously assigned to the Q63E carboxylic acid based on U-(13)C labeling of the protein. Light absorption instantaneously (<100 fs) bleaches the 1724 cm(-1) band leading to a transient absorption at 1707 cm(-1). Because Q63E is not part of the isoalloxazine electronic transition, the shift in frequency must arise from a sub picosecond perturbation to the flavin binding pocket. The light-induced change in the frequency of the Q63E side chain is assigned to an increase in hydrogen-bond strength of 3 kcal mol(-1) caused by electronic reorganization of the isoalloxazine ring in the excited state, providing direct evidence that the protein matrix of AppA responds instantaneously to changes in the electronic structure of the chromophore and supporting a model for photoactivation of the wild-type protein that involves initial tautomerization of the Q63 side chain.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 09/2011; 133(42):16893-900. · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The light sensing apparatus of many organisms includes a flavoprotein. In any spectroscopic analysis of the photocycle of flavoproteins a detailed knowledge of the spectroscopy and excited state dynamics of potential intermediates is required. Here we correlate transient vibrational and electronic spectra of the two fully reduced forms of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD): FADH(-) and FADH(2). Ground and excited state frequencies of the characteristic carbonyl modes are observed and assigned with the aid of DFT calculations. Excited state decay and ground state recovery dynamics of the two states are reported. Excited state decay occurs on the picosecond timescale, in agreement with the low fluorescence yield, and is markedly non single exponential in FADH(-). Further, an unusual 'inverse' isotope effect is observed in the decay time of FADH(-), suggesting the involvement in the radiationless relaxation coordinate of an NH or hydrogen bond mode that strengthens in the excited electronic state. Ground state recovery also occurs on the picosecond time scale, consistent with radiationless decay by internal conversion, but is slower than the excited state decay.
    Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 09/2011; 13(39):17642-8. · 3.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The blue light using flavin (BLUF) domain photosensors, such as the transcriptional antirepressor AppA, utilize a noncovalently bound flavin as the chromophore for photoreception. Since the isoalloxazine ring of the chromophore is unable to undergo large-scale structural change upon light absorption, there is intense interest in understanding how the BLUF protein matrix senses and responds to flavin photoexcitation. Light absorption is proposed to result in alterations in the hydrogen-bonding network that surrounds the flavin chromophore on an ultrafast time scale, and the structural changes caused by photoexcitation are being probed by vibrational spectroscopy. Here we report ultrafast time-resolved infrared spectra of the AppA BLUF domain (AppA(BLUF)) reconstituted with isotopically labeled riboflavin (Rf) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), which permit the first unambiguous assignment of ground and excited state modes arising directly from the flavin carbonyl groups. Studies of model compounds and DFT calculations of the ground state vibrational spectra reveal the sensitivity of these modes to their environment, indicating that they can be used as probes of structural dynamics.
    Biochemistry 03/2011; 50(8):1321-8. · 3.38 Impact Factor