In the bacteriorhodopsin-containing proteoliposomes, a laser flash is found to induce formation of a bathointermediate decaying in several seconds, the difference spectrum being similar to the purple-blue transition. Different pH buffers do not affect the intermediate, whereas an uncoupler, gramicidin A, and lipophilic ions accelerate decay of the intermediate or inhibit its formation. In the liposomes containing E204Q bacteriorhodopsin mutant, formation of the intermediate is suppressed. In the wild-type bacteriorhodopsin liposomes, the bathointermediate formation is pH-independent within the pH 5-7 range. The efficiency of the long-lived O intermediate formation increases at a low pH. In the wild-type as well as in the E204Q mutant purple membrane, the O intermediate decay is slowed down at slightly higher pH values than that of the purple-blue transition. It is suggested that the membrane potential affects the equilibrium between the bacteriorhodopsin ground state (Glu-204 is protonated and Asp-85 is deprotonated) and the O intermediate (Asp-85 is protonated and Glu-204 is deprotonated), stabilizing the latter by changing the relative affinity of Asp-85 and Glu-204 to H+. At a low pH, protonation of a proton-releasing group (possibly Glu-194) in the bacteriorhodopsin ground state seems to prevent deprotonation of the Glu-204 during the photocycle. Thus, all protonatable residues of the outward proton pathway should be protonated in the O intermediate. Under such conditions, membrane potential stabilization of the O intermediate in the liposomes can be attributed to the direct effect of the potential on the pK value of Asp-85. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
Kalaidzidis, I. V., Belevich, I. N., Kalaidzidis, Y. L., & Kaulen, A. D. (1999). Membrane potential stabilizes the O intermediate in liposomes containing bacteriorhodopsin. FEBS Letters, 459(1), 143–147. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0014-5793(99)01193-X