The challenges involved in studying cofactor binding and assembly, as well as energy- and electron transfer mechanisms in the large and elaborate transmembrane protein complexes of photosynthesis and respiration have prompted considerable interest in constructing simplified model systems based on their water-soluble protein analogs. Such analogs are also promising templates and building blocks for artificial bioinspired energy conversion systems. Yet, development is limited by the challenge of introducing the essential cofactors of natural proteins that are highly water-insoluble into the water-soluble protein analogs. Here we introduce a new efficient method based on water-in-oil emulsions for overcoming this challenge. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the method in the assembly of native chlorophylls with four recombinant variants of the water-soluble chlorophyll-binding protein of Brassicaceae plants. We use the method to gain new insights into the protein-chlorophyll assembly process, and demonstrate its potential as a fast screening system for developing novel chlorophyll-protein complexes.
Keywords: Water-in-oil emulsion; Water-soluble chlorophyll binding protein (WSCP).
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