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  • Stepanenko, Olesya V.; Baloban, Mikhail; Bublikov, Grigory S.; Shcherbakova, Daria M.; Stepanenko, Olga V.; Turoverov, Konstantin K.; Kuznetsova, Irina M.; Verkhusha, Vladislav Vitaliyevich (2016)
    Fluorescent proteins (FPs) engineered from bacterial phytochromes attract attention as probes for in vivo imaging due to their near-infrared (NIR) spectra and use of available in mammalian cells biliverdin (BV) as chromophore. We studied spectral properties of the iRFP670, iRFP682 and iRFP713 proteins and their mutants having Cys residues able to bind BV either in both PAS (Cys15) and GAF (Cys256) domains, in one of these domains, or without these Cys residues. We show that the absorption and fluorescence spectra and the chromophore binding depend on the location of the Cys residues. Compared with NIR FPs in which BV covalently binds to Cys15 or those that incorporate BV noncovalently, the proteins with BV covalently bound to Cys256 have blue-shifted spectra and higher quantum yield. In dimeric NIR FPs without Cys15, the covalent binding of BV to Cys256 in one monomer allosterically inhibits the covalent binding of BV to the other monomer, whereas the presence of Cys15 allosterically promotes BV binding to Cys256 in both monomers. The NIR FPs with both Cys residues have the narrowest blue-shifted spectra and the highest quantum yield. Our analysis resulted in the iRFP713/Val256Cys protein with the highest brightness in mammalian cells among available NIR FPs.
  • Stepanenko, Olesya V.; Stepanenko, Olga V.; Kuznetsova, Irina M.; Shcherbakova, Daria M.; Verkhusha, Vladislav; Turoverov, Konstantin K. (2017)
    Near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent proteins (FPs) designed from PAS (Per-ARNT-Sim repeats) and GAF (cGMP phosphodiesterase/adenylate cyclase/FhlA transcriptional activator) domains of bacterial phytochromes covalently bind biliverdin (BV) chromophore via one or two Cys residues. We studied BV interaction with a series of NIR FP variants derived from the recently reported BphP1-FP protein. The latter was engineered from a bacterial phytochrome RpBphP1, and has two reactive Cys residues (Cys15 in the PAS domain and Cys256 in the GAF domain), whereas its mutants contain single Cys residues either in the PAS domain or in the GAF domain, or no Cys residues. We characterized BphP1-FP and its mutants biochemically and spectroscopically in the absence and in the presence of denaturant. We found that all BphP1-FP variants are monomers. We revealed that spectral properties of the BphP1-FP variants containing either Cys15 or Cys256, or both, are determined by the covalently bound BV chromophore only. Consequently, this suggests an involvement of the inter-monomeric allosteric effects in the BV interaction with monomers in dimeric NIR FPs, such as iRFPs. Likely, insertion of the Cys15 residue, in addition to the Cys256 residue, in dimeric NIR FPs influences BV binding by promoting the BV chromophore covalent cross-linking to both PAS and GAF domains.
  • Multamäki, Elina; de Fuentes, Andres Garcia; Sieryi, Oleksii; Bykov, Alexander; Gerken, Uwe; Ranzani, Americo Tavares; Koehler, Juergen; Meglinski, Igor; Moeglich, Andreas; Takala, Heikki (2022)
    In optogenetics, as in nature, sensory photoreceptors serve to control cellular processes by light. Bacteriophytochrome (BphP) photoreceptors sense red and farred light via a biliverdin chromophore and, in response, cycle between the spectroscopically, structurally, and functionally distinct Pr and Pfr states. BphPs commonly belong to two-component systems that control the phosphorylation of cognate response regulators and downstream gene expression through histidine kinase modules. We recently demonstrated that the paradigm BphP from Deinococcus radiodurans exclusively acts as a phosphatase but that its photosensory module can control the histidine kinase activity of homologous receptors. Here, we apply this insight to reprogram two widely used setups for bacterial gene expression from blue-light to red-light control. The resultant pREDusk and pREDawn systems allow gene expression to be regulated down and up, respectively, uniformly under red light by 100-fold or more. Both setups are realized as portable, single plasmids that encode all necessary components including the biliverdin-producing machinery. The triggering by red light affords high spatial resolution down to the single-cell level. As pREDusk and pREDawn respond sensitively to red light, they support multiplexing with optogenetic systems sensitive to other light colors. Owing to the superior tissue penetration of red light, the pREDawn system can be triggered at therapeutically safe light intensities through material layers, replicating the optical properties of the skin and skull. Given these advantages, pREDusk and pREDawn enable red-light-regulated expression for diverse use cases in bacteria.