Photosystem II (PSII) of photosynthesis has the unique ability to photochemically oxidize water. Recently an engineered bacterioferritin photochemical 'reaction centre' (BFR-RC) using a zinc chlorin pigment (ZnCe6) in place of its native heme has been shown to photo-oxidize bound manganese ions through a tyrosine residue, thus mimicking two of the key reactions on the electron donor side of PSII. To understand the mechanism of tyrosine oxidation in BFR-RCs, and explore the possibility of water oxidation in such a system we have built an atomic-level model of the BFR-RC using ONIOM methodology. We studied the influence of axial ligands and carboxyl groups on the oxidation potential of ZnCe6 using DFT theory, and finally calculated the shift of the redox potential of ZnCe6 in the BFR-RC protein using the multi-conformational molecular mechanics-Poisson-Boltzmann approach. According to our calculations, the redox potential for the first oxidation of ZnCe6 in the BRF-RC protein is only 0.57 V, too low to oxidize tyrosine. We suggest that the observed tyrosine oxidation in BRF-RC could be driven by the ZnCe6 di-cation. In order to increase the efficiency of tyrosine oxidation, and ultimately oxidize water, the first potential of ZnCe6 would have to attain a value in excess of 0.8 V. We discuss the possibilities for modifying the BFR-RC to achieve this goal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)