Light induces oxidative damage and protein stability in the fungal photoreceptor Vivid
Hernández Candia, Carmen Noemí
Casas Flores, J. Sergio
Gutiérrez Medina, Braulio
"Flavin-binding photoreceptor proteins sense blue-light (BL) in diverse organisms and have become core elements in recent optogenetic applications. The light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) protein Vivid (VVD) from the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa is a classic BL photoreceptor, characterized by effecting a photocycle based on light-driven formation and subsequent spontaneous decay of a flavin-cysteinyl adduct. Here we report that VVD presents alternative outcomes to light exposure that result in protein self-oxidation and, unexpectedly, rise of stability through kinetic control. Using optical absorbance and mass spectrometry we show that purified VVD develops amorphous aggregates with the presence of oxidized residues located at the cofactor binding pocket. Light exposure increases oxidative levels in VVD and specific probe analysis identifies singlet oxygen production by the flavin. These results indicate that VVD acts alternatively as a photosensitizer, inducing self-oxidative damage and subsequent aggregation. Surprisingly, BL illumination has an additional, opposite effect in VVD. We show that light-induced adduct formation establishes a stable state, delaying protein aggregation until photoadduct decay occurs. In accordance, repeated BL illumination suppresses VVD aggregation altogether. Furthermore, photoadduct formation confers VVD stability against chemical denaturation. Analysis of the aggregation kinetics and testing of stabilizers against aggregation reveal that aggregation in VVD proceeds through light-dependent kinetic control and dimer formation. These results uncover the aggregation pathway of a photosensor, where light induces a remarkable interplay between protein damage and stability."