Biophysical journal

Tuning the Photocycle Kinetics of Bacteriorhodopsin in Lipid Nanodiscs.

PMID 26536266


Monodisperse lipid nanodiscs are particularly suitable for characterizing membrane protein in near-native environment. To study the lipid-composition dependence of photocycle kinetics of bacteriorhodopsin (bR), transient absorption spectroscopy was utilized to monitor the evolution of the photocycle intermediates of bR reconstituted in nanodiscs composed of different ratios of the zwitterionic lipid (DMPC, dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine; DOPC, dioleoyl phosphatidylcholine) to the negatively charged lipid (DOPG, dioleoyl phosphatidylglycerol; DMPG, dimyristoyl phosphatidylglycerol). The characterization of ion-exchange chromatography showed that the negative surface charge of nanodiscs increased as the content of DOPG or DMPG was increased. The steady-state absorption contours of the light-adapted monomeric bR in nanodiscs composed of different lipid ratios exhibited highly similar absorption features of the retinal moiety at 560 nm, referring to the conservation of the tertiary structure of bR in nanodiscs of different lipid compositions. In addition, transient absorption contours showed that the photocycle kinetics of bR was significantly retarded and the transient populations of intermediates N and O were decreased as the content of DMPG or DOPG was reduced. This observation could be attributed to the negatively charged lipid heads of DMPG and DOPG, exhibiting similar proton relay capability as the native phosphatidylglycerol (PG) analog lipids in the purple membrane. In this work, we not only demonstrated the usefulness of nanodiscs as a membrane-mimicking system, but also showed that the surrounding lipids play a crucial role in altering the biological functions, e.g., the ion translocation kinetics of the transmembrane proteins.