Photochemical activity of the bacterial reaction center in polymer-like phospholipids reverse micelles
An integral membrane protein, the photosynthetic bacterial reaction center (RC), has been incorporated in reverse micelle viscoelastic gels made of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine. Due to the dynamic nature of the gels, the use of a technique which shares the same timescale of the charge recombination is advised, in order to correlate the kinetic behaviour of the RC to the hosting-system properties. Self-diffusion and conductivity measurements have been used to investigate the properties of the model system lecithin/cyclohexane/water. The results indicate that such techniques can describe the properties of the system on a long characteristic time-scale. As a consequence, the kinetic behaviour of the RC has been studied by means of flash-spectro-photometry and related to the structural properties of the hosting gel, investigated by means of conductivity. The conductivity data are consistent with a water-induced sphere-to-rod transition of the phospholipid aggregates. Furthermore, increasing the ratio [water]/[lipid], a maximum in the hydrodynamic dimension of the giant worm-like reverse micelles is found. The experimental P+ decay has been resolved into three exponential components which are strongly affected by the system composition. The functionality of the binding site QB is dependent on the ratio [water]/[lipid] supporting the hypothesis of a water role in the binding process.
Key wordsCharge-recombination organogels self-diffusion membrane model
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