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Biophys Chem. 2010 Jan;146(1):13-24. doi: 10.1016/j.bpc.2009.09.013. Epub 2009 Oct 6.

Analysis of light-induced transmembrane ion gradients and membrane potential in Photosystem I proteoliposomes.

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Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Denmark.


Photosystem I (PSI) complexes can support a light-driven electrochemical gradient for protons, which is the driving force for energy-conserving reactions across biological membranes. In this work, a computational model that enables a quantitative description of the light-induced proton gradients across the membrane of PSI proteoliposomes is presented. Using a set of electrodiffusion equations, a compartmental model of a vesicle suspended in aqueous medium was studied. The light-mediated proton movement was modeled as a single proton pumping step with backpressure of the electric potential. The model fits determinations of pH obtained from PSI proteoliposomes illuminated in the presence of mediators of cyclic electron transport. The model also allows analysis of the proton gradients in relation to the transmembrane ion fluxes and electric potential. Sensitivity analysis enabled a determination of the parameters that have greater influence on steady-state levels and onset/decay rates of transmembrane pH and electric potential. This model could be used as a tool for optimizing PSI proteoliposomes for photo-electrochemical applications.

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