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Electric dichroism in the purple membrane of Halobacterium halobium.

By S Druckmann and M Ottolenghi

Abstract

Aqueous suspensions of fragments of the purple membrane of Halobacterium halobium are exposed to short electric field pulses. The relaxation kinetics of the induced dichroism are studied as a function of environmental factors such as temperature, medium viscosity, and treatment of the membranes with glutaraldehyde and dimethylsulfoxide. The data indicate that the alignment of the retinyl chromophore is due to orientation of the whole membrane fragments with their planes parallel to the electric field, as well as to an intramembrane orientation of bacteriorhodopsin molecules (or of a part of such molecules). Wavelength effects on the dichroic ratio show that weak, out of (membrane) plane components contribute to the chromophore spectrum on the red side (lambda greater than 560 nm) of the main (alpha) absorption band as well as the range of the beta band (lambda less than 480 nm). The former effect is attributed to exciton interactions, while the latter is assigned to the contribution of a transition to the lowest 1Ag+ state ("cis" band). It is also concluded that the transition moment along the short (kappa) axis, in the plane of the polyene molecule, has a substantial component perpendicular to the membrane plane

Topics: Research Article
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:1327426
Provided by: PubMed Central
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