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Molecular dynamics and structural models of the cyanobacterial NDH-1 complex

Saura, Patricia, Kaila, Ville R.I.
Biochimica et biophysica acta 2019 v.1860 no.3 pp. 201-208
X-radiation, energy, mammals, molecular dynamics, molecular models, photosynthesis, proton pump
NDH-1 is a gigantic redox-driven proton pump linked with respiration and cyclic electron flow in cyanobacterial cells. Based on experimentally resolved X-ray and cryo-EM structures of the respiratory complex I, we derive here molecular models of two isoforms of the cyanobacterial NDH-1 complex involved in redox-driven proton pumping (NDH-1L) and CO2-fixation (NDH-1MS). Our models show distinct structural and dynamic similarities to the core architecture of the bacterial and mammalian respiratory complex I. We identify putative plastoquinone-binding sites that are coupled by an electrostatic wire to the proton pumping elements in the membrane domain of the enzyme. Molecular simulations suggest that the NDH-1L isoform undergoes large-scale hydration changes that support proton-pumping within antiporter-like subunits, whereas the terminal subunit of the NDH-1MS isoform lacks such structural motifs. Our work provides a putative molecular blueprint for the complex I-analogue in the photosynthetic energy transduction machinery and demonstrates that general mechanistic features of the long-range proton-pumping machinery are evolutionary conserved in the complex I-superfamily.