Detection of fast light-activated H+ release and M intermediateformation from proteorhodopsin

Richard A. Krebs, Ulrike Alexiev, Ranga Partha, Anne Marie DeVita, Mark S. Braiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Proteorhodopsin (pR) is a light-activated proton pump homologous to bacteriorhodopsin and recently discovered in oceanic γ-proteobacteria. One perplexing difference between these two proteins is the absence in pR of homologues of bR residues Glu-194 and Glu-204. These two residues, along with Arg-82, have been implicated in light-activated fast H + release to the extracellular medium in bR. It is therefore uncertain that pR carries out its physiological activity using a mechanism that is completely homologous to that of bR. Results: A pR purification procedure is described that utilizes Phenylsepharose™ and hydroxylapatite columns and yields 85% (w/w) purity. Through SDS-PAGE of the pure protein, the molecular weight of E.-coli-produced pR was determined to be 36,000, approximately 9,000 more than the 27,000 predicted by the DNA sequence. Post-translational modification of one or more of the cysteine residues accounts for 5 kDa of the weight difference as measured on a cys-less pR mutant. At pH 9.5 and in the presence of octylglucoside and diheptanoylphosphotidylcholine, flash photolysis results in fast H+ release and a 400-nm absorbing (M-like) photoproduct. Both of these occur with a similar rise time (4-10 μs) as reported for monomeric bR in detergent. Conclusions: The presence of fast H + release in pR indicates that either different groups are responsible for fast H+ release in pR and bR (i.e. that the H + release group is not highly conserved); or, that the H+ release group is conserved and is therefore likely Arg-94 itself in pR (and Arg-82 in bR, correspondingly).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Physiology
StatePublished - Apr 9 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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