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J Mol Biol. 1995 Jun 2;249(2):239-43.

Force-induced conformational change of bacteriorhodopsin.

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M. E. Müller-Institute for Structural Biology Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland.


The cytoplasmic surface topography of purple membranes imaged by the atomic force microscope depends mainly on the force applied to the stylus. Imaged at forces of 300 pN, individual bacteriorhodopsin molecules reveal two domains. The resulting donut-shaped trimers reversibly transform into structures exhibiting three prominent protrusions when scanned at 100 pN. In parallel, the height of the protein moiety above the lipid layer increases from 4 A to 6 A. From the known structure of bacteriorhodopsin it appears that this change may be related to a bending of the most prominent cytoplasmic loop.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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