H

FIGURE 5.4 Three dimensional structure of phycocyanin with alpha and beta dimers Pc is composed of two dissimilar a (red) and b (blue) protein subunits of 17 000 and 19 1500 Da, respectively, with one bilin chromophore attached to the a subunit (a 84) and two to the b subunit (b 84, b 155). (Redrawn from Romay et al., 2003.)

pure when the absorption ratio of visible maximum to 280 was greater than 4.22,23 The chemical structure of the bilin chromophores (Figure 5.4) in phycocyanin is very similar to bilirubin, a heme degradative product. Bilirubin is considered to be a physiologically important antioxidant against reactive species.24 It inhibits oxidative modification of plasma proteins and aromatic amino acid residues. Scavenging of oxygen radicals by bilirubin has been shown to protect serum albumin as well as other biological targets.25,26 Similarly phycocyanin inhibits the reactive oxygen species generation as well as scavenges them in the variety of test systems and displays a powerful anti-oxidant activity (Table 5.2).

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