Nature Communications, 13 April, 2022, DOI：https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-29563-3
Structural basis for the assembly and quinone transport mechanisms of the dimeric photosynthetic RC–LH1 supercomplex
Peng Cao, Laura Bracun, Atsushi Yamagata, Bern M. Christianson, Tatsuki Negami, Baohua Zou, Tohru Terada, Daniel P. Canniffe, Mikako Shirouzu, Mei Li & Lu-Ning Liu
The reaction center (RC) and light-harvesting complex 1 (LH1) form a RC–LH1 core supercomplex that is vital for the primary reactions of photosynthesis in purple phototrophic bacteria. Some species possess the dimeric RC–LH1 complex with a transmembrane polypeptide PufX, representing the largest photosynthetic complex in anoxygenic phototrophs. However, the details of the architecture and assembly mechanism of the RC–LH1 dimer are unclear. Here we report seven cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of RC–LH1 supercomplexes from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Our structures reveal that two PufX polypeptides are positioned in the center of the S-shaped RC–LH1 dimer, interlocking association between the components and mediating RC–LH1 dimerization. Moreover, we identify another transmembrane peptide, designated PufY, which is located between the RC and LH1 subunits near the LH1 opening. PufY binds a quinone molecule and prevents LH1 subunits from completely encircling the RC, creating a channel for quinone/quinol exchange. Genetic mutagenesis, cryo-EM structures, and computational simulations provide a mechanistic understanding of the assembly and electron transport pathways of the RC–LH1 dimer and elucidate the roles of individual components in ensuring the structural and functional integrity of the photosynthetic supercomplex.