Estimation of the available free energy in a LOV2-Jα photoswitch

Xiaolan Yao, Michael K. Rosen, Kevin H. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Protein photosensors are versatile tools for studying ligand-regulated allostery and signaling. Fundamental to these processes is the amount of energy that can be provided by a photosensor to control downstream signaling events. Such regulation is exemplified by the phototropins - plant serine/threonine kinases that are activated by blue light via conserved LOV (light, oxygen and voltage) domains. The core photosensor of oat phototropin 1 is a LOV domain that interacts in a light-dependent fashion with an adjacent α-helix (Jα) to control kinase activity. We used solution NMR measurements to quantify the free energy of the LOV domain-Jα-helix binding equilibrium in the dark and lit states. These data indicate that light shifts this equilibrium by ∼3.8 kcal mol-1, thus quantifying the energy available through LOV-Jα for light-driven allosteric regulation. This study provides insight into the energetics of light sensing by phototropins and benchmark values for engineering photoswitchable systems based on the LOV-Jα interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
JournalNature chemical biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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