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Effect of Detergents and Osmolytes on Thermal Stability of Native and Mutant Rhodobacter sphaeroides Reaction Centers

Tatiana Yu. Fufina1,a* and Lyudmila G. Vasilieva1

1Institute of Basic Biological Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, 142290 Pushchino, Moscow Region, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received December 7, 2020; Revised February 18, 2021; Accepted February 24, 2021
Photosynthetic reaction center (RC) of the purple bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides is one of the most well-studied transmembrane pigment-protein complexes. It is a relatively stable protein with established conditions for its isolation from membranes, purification, and storage. However, it has been shown that some amino acid substitutions can affect stability of the RC, which results in a decrease of the RCs yield during its isolation and purification, disturbs spectral properties of the RCs during storage, and can lead to sample heterogeneity. To optimize conditions for studying mutant RCs, the effect of various detergents and osmolytes on thermal stability of the complex was examined. It was shown that trehalose and, to a lesser extent, sucrose, maltose, and hydroxyectoin at 1 M concentration slow down thermal denaturation of RCs. Sodium cholate was found to have significant stabilizing effect on the structure of native and genetically modified RCs. The use of sodium cholate as a detergent has several advantages and can be recommended for the storage and investigation of the unstable mutant membrane complexes of purple bacteria in long-term experiments.
KEY WORDS: detergents, osmolytes, photosynthetic reaction center, Rhodobacter sphaeroides, thermal stability of membrane proteins, trehalose, sodium cholate

DOI: 10.1134/S000629792104012X