Photoacoustic photocalorimetry and spectroscopy of Halobacterium halobium purple membranes

H. Garty, S. R. Caplan, D. Cahen

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26 Scopus citations


Enthalpy changes associated with intermediates of the photocycle of bacteriorhodopsin (bR) in light-adapted Halobacterium halobium purple membranes, and decay times of these intermediates, are obtained from photoacoustic measurements on purple membrane fragments. Our results, mainly derived from modulation frequency spectra, show changes in the amount of energy stored in the intermediates and in their decay times as a function of pH and/or salt concentration. Especially affected are the slowest step (endothermic) and a spectroscopically unidentified intermediate (both at pH 7). This effect is interpreted in terms of cation binding to the protein, conformational changes of which are thought to be connected with the endothermic process. Wavelength spectra are used to obtain heat dissipation spectra, which allow identification of wavelength regions with varying photoactivity, and estimation of the amounts of enthalpy stored in the photointermediates. Because of bleaching and accumulation of intermediates, however, and because of the small fraction of light energy stored during photocycle, quantitative information cannot be obtained. From photoacoustic wavelength spectra of purple membrane fragments equilibrated at 63% relative humidity, rise and decay times of the bR570 and M412 intermediates are calculated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-415
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1982


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