The photosynthetic reaction center is an efficient molecular device for the conversion of light energy to chemical energy. In a previous study, we synthesized the hydrogenase/photosystem I (PSI) complex, in which Ralstonia hydrogenase was linked to the cytoplasmic side of Synechocystis PSI, to modify PSI so that it photoproduced molecular hydrogen (H2). In that study, hydrogenase was fused with a PSI subunit, PsaE, and the resulting hydrogenase-PsaE fusion protein was self-assembled with PsaE-free PSI to give the hydrogenase/PSI complex. Although the hydrogenase/PSI complex served as a direct light-to-H2 conversion system in vitro, the activity was totally suppressed by adding physiological PSI partners, ferredoxin (Fd) and ferredoxin-NADP -reductase (FNR). In the present study, to establish an H2 photoproduction system in which the activity is not interrupted by Fd and FNR, position 40 of PsaE from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803, corresponding to the Fd-binding site on PSI, was selected and targeted for the cross-linking with cytochrome c3 (cytc3) from Desulfovibrio vulgaris. The covalent adduct of cytc3 and PsaE was stoichiometrically assembled with PsaE-free PSI to form the cytc3/PSI complex. The NADPH production by the cytc3/PSI complex coupled with Fd and FNR decreased to approximately 20% of the original activity, whereas the H2 production by the cytc3/PSI complex coupled with hydrogenase from Desulfovibrio vulgaris was enhanced 7-fold. Consequently, in the simultaneous presence of hydrogenase, Fd, and FNR, the light-driven H2 production by the hydrogenase/cytc3/PSI complex was observed (0.30 μmol H2/mg chlorophyll/h). These results suggest that the cytc3/PSI complex may produce H2 in vivo.
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Vol. 82 • No. 6