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. 2019 Jul 5;365(6448):61-65.
doi: 10.1126/science.aaw8634.

Proton Uptake Mechanism in Bacteriorhodopsin Captured by Serial Synchrotron Crystallography

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Proton Uptake Mechanism in Bacteriorhodopsin Captured by Serial Synchrotron Crystallography

Tobias Weinert et al. Science. .

Abstract

Conformational dynamics are essential for proteins to function. We adapted time-resolved serial crystallography developed at x-ray lasers to visualize protein motions using synchrotrons. We recorded the structural changes in the light-driven proton-pump bacteriorhodopsin over 200 milliseconds in time. The snapshot from the first 5 milliseconds after photoactivation shows structural changes associated with proton release at a quality comparable to that of previous x-ray laser experiments. From 10 to 15 milliseconds onwards, we observe large additional structural rearrangements up to 9 angstroms on the cytoplasmic side. Rotation of leucine-93 and phenylalanine-219 opens a hydrophobic barrier, leading to the formation of a water chain connecting the intracellular aspartic acid-96 with the retinal Schiff base. The formation of this proton wire recharges the membrane pump with a proton for the next cycle.

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