In vitro assembly of phytochrome B apoprotein with synthetic analogs of the phytochrome chromophore

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Mar 13;98(6):3612-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.051629698.


Phytochrome B (PhyB), one of the major photosensory chromoproteins in plants, mediates a variety of light-responsive developmental processes in a photoreversible manner. To analyze the structural requirements of the chromophore for the spectral properties of PhyB, we have designed and chemically synthesized 20 analogs of the linear tetrapyrrole (bilin) chromophore and reconstituted them with PhyB apoprotein (PHYB). The A-ring acts mainly as the anchor for ligation to PHYB, because the modification of the side chains at the C2 and C3 positions did not significantly influence the formation or difference spectra of adducts. In contrast, the side chains of the B- and C-rings are crucial to position the chromophore properly in the chromophore pocket of PHYB and for photoreversible spectral changes. The side-chain structure of the D-ring is required for the photoreversible spectral change of the adducts. When methyl and ethyl groups at the C17 and C18 positions are replaced with an n-propyl, n-pentyl, or n-octyl group, respectively, the photoreversible spectral change of the adducts depends on the length of the side chains. From these studies, we conclude that each pyrrole ring of the linear tetrapyrrole chromophore plays a different role in chromophore assembly and the photochromic properties of PhyB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Apoproteins / chemical synthesis
  • Apoproteins / chemistry*
  • Apoproteins / genetics
  • Bile Pigments / chemistry*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Molecular Structure
  • Photoreceptor Cells*
  • Phytochrome / chemical synthesis
  • Phytochrome / chemistry*
  • Phytochrome / genetics
  • Phytochrome B
  • Transcription Factors*


  • Apoproteins
  • Bile Pigments
  • Transcription Factors
  • Phytochrome
  • Phytochrome B