Evidence for a bound water molecule next to the retinal Schiff base in bacteriorhodopsin and rhodopsin: a resonance Raman study of the Schiff base hydrogen/deuterium exchange

H. Deng, L. Huang, R. Callender, T. Ebrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

The retinal chromophores of both rhodopsin and bacteriorhodopsin are bound to their apoproteins via a protonated Schiff base. We have employed continuous-flow resonance Raman experiments on both pigments to determine that the exchange of a deuteron on the Schiff base with a proton is very fast, with half-times of 6.9 +/- 0.9 and 1.3 +/- 0.3 ms for rhodopsin and bacteriorhodopsin, respectively. When these results are analyzed using standard hydrogen-deuteron exchange mechanisms, i.e., acid-, base-, or water-catalyzed schemes, it is found that none of these can explain the experimental results. Because the exchange rates are found to be independent of pH, the deuterium-hydrogen exchange can not be hydroxyl (or acid-)-catalyzed. Moreover, the deuterium-hydrogen exchange of the retinal Schiff base cannot be catalyzed by water acting as a base because in that case the estimated exchange rate is predicted to be orders of magnitude slower than that observed. The relatively slow calculated exchange rates are essentially due to the high pKa values of the Schiff base in both rhodopsin (pKa > 17) and bacteriorhodopsin (pKa approximately 13.5). We have also measured the deuterium-hydrogen exchange of a protonated Schiff base model compound in aqueous solution. Its exchange characteristics, in contrast to the Schiff bases of the pigments, is pH-dependent and consistent with the standard base-catalyzed schemes. Remarkably, the water-catalyzed exchange, which has a half-time of 16 +/- 2 ms and which dominates at pH 3.0 and below, is slower than the exchange rate of the Schiff base in rhodopsin and bacteriorhodopsin.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1129-1136
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume66
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

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