Simultaneous measurements of solvent dynamics and functional kinetics in a light-activated enzyme

Guillaume Durin, Aude Delaunay, Claudine Darnault, Derren J. Heyes, Antoine Royant, Xavier Vernede, C. Neil Hunter, Martin Weik, Dominique Bourgeois

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Solvent fluctuations play a key role in controlling protein motions and biological function. Here, we have studied how individual steps of the reaction catalyzed by the light-activated enzyme protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase (POR) couple with solvent dynamics. To simultaneously monitor the catalytic cycle of the enzyme and the dynamical behavior of the solvent, we designed temperature-dependent UV-visible microspectrophotometry experiments, using flash-cooled nanodroplets of POR to which an exogenous soluble fluorophore was added. The formation and decay of the first two intermediates in the PORcatalyzed reaction were measured, together with the solvent glass transition and the buildup of crystalline ice at cryogenic temperatures. We find that formation of the first intermediate occurs below the glass transition temperature (Tg), and is not affected by changes in solvent dynamics induced by modifying the glycerol content. In contrast, formation of the second intermediate occurs above Tg and is influenced by changes in glycerol concentration in a manner remarkably similar to the buildup of crystalline ice. These results suggest that internal, nonslaved protein motions drive the first step of the POR-catalyzed reaction whereas solvent-slaved motions control the second step. We propose that the concept of solvent slaving applies to complex enzymes such as POR. © 2009 by the Biophysical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1902-1910
    Number of pages8
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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