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FEBS Lett. 1996 Mar 11;382(1-2):209-12.

Chemical and functional studies on the importance of purple membrane lipids in bacteriorhodopsin photocycle behavior.

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Laboratory of Cell Biology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


In native purple membrane (PM), there are approximately 1 squalene, 2 glycolipid sulfate (GLS), and 6 phospholipid (PL) molecules per bacteriorhodopsin (BR) monomer. Brief (approximately 2 min) exposure to 0.1% Triton X-100 removes about 25%, 20%, and 6% of squalenes, GLS, and PL, respectively (this paper) while causing profound changes in the BR photocycle, including the loss of 'photocooperativity'. The BR photocycle in Triton-treated PM can be restored to near normal behavior by reconstitution with native PM lipids. Isolated squalenes are not effective whereas PL alone partially restores normal photocycle characteristics.

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