Thursday, November 1 2018
1:00pm
Room 1128, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences (IBB), 315 Ferst Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332
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Biochemical Characterization and Cryo-EM Studies of a Highly Active Spinach Photosystem II Complex

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biology in the School of Biological Sciences Yusuf Uddin will defend his dissertation Biochemical Characterization and Cryo-EM Studies of a Highly Active Spinach Photosystem II Complex.

Thesis Advisor:
Dr. Ingeborg Schmidt-Krey
School of Biological Sciences
Georgia Institute of Technology

Committee members:
Dr. Al Merrill
School of Biological Sciences
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Bridgette Barry
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Loren Williams
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Nael McCarty
Department of Pediatrics
School of Medicine
Emory University

Summary
Photosystem II (PSII) is a large, photosynthetic membrane protein complex responsible for water oxidation and the formation of oxygen on Earth. Understanding the structure of this protein is important for studying photosynthetic energy transfer and assembly mechanisms in higher plants. Recently, technological breakthroughs in the field of cryo-EM have lead to the ability to study this membrane protein by single particle analysis (SPA). This technique does not require the growth of crystals, a challenge that has hindered structural determination in higher plant PSII. In this work, the biochemical preparation of spinach PSII for cryo-EM is optimized to maintain high activity. Subunit characterization, oxygen activity, UV absorbance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and negative stain transmission electron microscopy were employed to characterize the spinach PSII preparation. Cryo-EM experiments resulted in a first model of a highly active C2 PSII complex, which contains all intrinsic and extrinsic subunits essential for activity.