In view of recent theories of “active” membranes, we have studied multilamellar phospholipid membrane stacks with reconstituted transmembrane protein bacteriorhodopsin (BR) under different illumination conditions by X-ray scattering. The light-active protein is considered as an active constituent which drives the system out of equilibrium and is predicted to change the collective fluctuation properties of the membranes. Using X-ray reflectivity, X-ray non-specular (diffuse) scattering, and grazing incidence scattering, we find no detectable change in the scattering curves when changing the illumination condition. In particular the intermembrane spacing d remains constant, after eliminating hydration-related artifacts by design of a suitable sample environment. The absence of any observable non-equilibrium effects in the experimental window is discussed in view of the relevant parameters and recent theories.
87.64.Bx Electron, neutron and X-ray diffraction and scattering 87.15.Kg Molecular interactions; membrane-protein interactions 87.15.Ya Fluctuations
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