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Journal Article

Transmembranous incorporation of photoelectrically active bacteriorhodopsin in planar lipid bilayers

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Bamberg, E., Dencher, N. A., Fahr, A., & Heyn, M. P. (1981). Transmembranous incorporation of photoelectrically active bacteriorhodopsin in planar lipid bilayers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 78(12), 7502-7506. doi:10.1073/pnas.78.12.7502.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-CE06-8
Various methods to incorporate bacteriorhodopsin in black lipid membranes are reported. Both purple membrane patches and monomeric bacteriorhodopsin were used as starting material. The incorporation of bacteriorhodopsin into planar lipid bilayers was achieved by the following methods. (i) Purple membrane patches were transferred from water to solutions of lipids in n-alkanes. Black membranes were formed from such organic suspensions. (ii) Lipid layers containing solvent and purple membranes were spread on an air/water interface. These layers were used to form planar bilayers. (iii) Vesicles containing purple membranes or monomeric bacteriorhodopsin were spread on an air/water interface and, from the resulting layer, bilayers were formed. On illumination, steady-state photocurrents were observed in all three cases, indicating that these methods lead to functional transmembranous integration of the protein in the planar black lipid membrane. The influence of an applied electric field on the pumping process was studied on membranes formed by using method i. At approximately 200 mV, the photocurrent tends to zero. Furthermore, it was possible to make planar lipid bilayers photoelectrically active by adding vesicles containing monomeric bacteriorhodopsin to the bathing solution. Because, in this case, only transient photocurrents were observed, it can be concluded that the vesicles are attached to but not fused with the black lipid membrane.