Purple membrane (PM) shows denaturation when spread over an air/water interface. We established a technique, which we call the spectroscopic surface denaturation quantifying (SSDQ) technique, that uses infrared linear dichroism to determine the amount of native structural bacteriorhodopsin (BR) in PM Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films. Using the SSDQ technique we found that the conformational change after surface denaturation of BR was the same as that caused by ethanol treatment. By extrapolating the data of the amount of non-denatured BR molecules in PM LB films vs. the area of a single BR molecule on an air/water interface, we also found that the surface area of a single non-denatured BR molecule was 11.5 nm2, which is consistent with that determined by high-resolution electron cryo-microscopy and electron diffraction (EMD). These results demonstrate that the SSDQ technique is effective in quantifying the amount of native structural BR in PM LB films. The SSDQ technique is also applicable to other types of protein consisting of α-helical conformation.
Sugiyama, Y., Inoue, T., Ikematsu, M., Iseki, M., & Sekiguchi, T. (1997). Determination of the amount of native structural bacteriorhodopsin in purple membrane Langmuir-Blodgett films by a spectroscopic surface denaturation quantifying technique. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes, 1326(1), 138–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-2736(97)00016-3