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Nat Nanotechnol. 2010 Mar;5(3):208-12. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2010.7. Epub 2010 Feb 14.

High-speed atomic force microscopy shows dynamic molecular processes in photoactivated bacteriorhodopsin.

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1
Department of Physics, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan.

Abstract

Dynamic changes in protein conformation in response to external stimuli are important in biological processes, but it has proved difficult to directly visualize such structural changes under physiological conditions. Here, we show that high-speed atomic force microscopy can be used to visualize dynamic changes in stimulated proteins. High-resolution movies of a light-driven proton pump, bacteriorhodopsin, reveal that, upon illumination, a cytoplasmic portion of each bacteriorhodopsin monomer is brought into contact with adjacent trimers. The bacteriorhodopsin-bacteriorhodopsin interaction in the transiently formed assembly engenders both positive and negative cooperative effects in the decay kinetics as the initial bacteriorhodopsin recovers and, as a consequence, the turnover rate of the photocycle is maintained constant, on average, irrespective of the light intensity. These results confirm that high-resolution visualization is a powerful approach for studying elaborate biomolecular processes under realistic conditions.

PMID:
20154686
DOI:
10.1038/nnano.2010.7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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