Photosynthesis is responsible for the photochemical conversion of light into the chemical energy that fuels the planet Earth. The photochemical core of this process in all photosynthetic organisms is a transmembrane protein called the reaction center. In purple photosynthetic bacteria a simple version of this photoenzyme catalyzes the reduction of a quinone molecule, accompanied by the uptake of two protons from the cytoplasm. This results in the establishment of a proton concentration gradient across the lipid membrane, which can be ultimately harnessed to synthesize ATP. Herein we show that synthetic protocells, based on giant lipid vesicles embedding an oriented population of reaction centers, are capable of generating a photoinduced proton gradient across the membrane. Under continuous illumination, the protocells generate a gradient of 0.061 pH units per min, equivalent to a proton motive force of 3.6 mV⋅min(-1) Remarkably, the facile reconstitution of the photosynthetic reaction center in the artificial lipid membrane, obtained by the droplet transfer method, paves the way for the construction of novel and more functional protocells for synthetic biology.

Highly oriented photosynthetic reaction centers generate a proton gradient in synthetic protocells

MILANO, FRANCESCO;TROTTA, MASSIMO;STANO, Pasquale;
2017-01-01

Abstract

Photosynthesis is responsible for the photochemical conversion of light into the chemical energy that fuels the planet Earth. The photochemical core of this process in all photosynthetic organisms is a transmembrane protein called the reaction center. In purple photosynthetic bacteria a simple version of this photoenzyme catalyzes the reduction of a quinone molecule, accompanied by the uptake of two protons from the cytoplasm. This results in the establishment of a proton concentration gradient across the lipid membrane, which can be ultimately harnessed to synthesize ATP. Herein we show that synthetic protocells, based on giant lipid vesicles embedding an oriented population of reaction centers, are capable of generating a photoinduced proton gradient across the membrane. Under continuous illumination, the protocells generate a gradient of 0.061 pH units per min, equivalent to a proton motive force of 3.6 mV⋅min(-1) Remarkably, the facile reconstitution of the photosynthetic reaction center in the artificial lipid membrane, obtained by the droplet transfer method, paves the way for the construction of novel and more functional protocells for synthetic biology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11587/410135
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