The influence of the 13-methyl group of the retinal on the photoreaction of rhodopsin revealed by FTIR difference spectroscopy
The photoreaction of opsin regenerated with 9-demethylretinal has been investigated by UV-vis spectroscopy, flash photolysis experiments, and Fourier transform infrared difference spectroscopy. In addition, the capability of the illuminated pigment to activate the retinal G-protein has been tested. The photoproduct, which can be stabilized at 77 K, resembles more the lumirhodopsin species, and only minor further changes occur upon warming the sample to 170 K (stabilizing lumirhodopsin). UV-vis spectroscopy reveals no further changes at 240 K (stabilizing metarhodopsin I), but infrared difference spectroscopy shows that the protein as well as the chromophore undergoes further molecular changes which are, however, different from those observed for unmodified metarhodopsin I. UV-vis spectroscopy, flash photolysis experiments, and infrared difference spectroscopy demonstrate that an intermediate different from metarhodopsin II is produced at room temperature, of which the Schiff base is still protonated. The illuminated pigment was able to activate G-protein, as assayed by monitoring the exchange of GDP for GTP gamma S in purified G-protein, only to a very limited extent (approximately 8% as compared to rhodopsin). The results are interpreted in terms of a specific steric interaction of the 9-methyl group of the retinal in rhodopsin with the protein, which is required to initiate the molecular changes necessary for G-protein activation. The residual activation suggests a conformer of the photolyzed pigment which mimics metarhodopsin II to a very limited extent.