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Bacteriorhodopsin (BR), purified from the halophilic bacterium, Halobacterium halobium, has been separated from the endogenous purple membrane lipids and reconstituted by detergent dialysis into bilayers of the zwitterionic phospholipid, 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC), which was selectively deuterated at the headgroup in the choline alpha- and beta-methylene segments and the choline gamma-methyl groups. Complexes of DMPC/BR contents from 67:1 to 222:1 (mol/mol) were produced under conditions to promote formation of large vesicles (mean diameters 600-700 nm). The magnitudes of the 2H-NMR quadrupole splittings recorded from the deuterium-labelled headgroup segments, and the 31P-NMR chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) of the phosphate group appeared to vary linearly with the BR content in the complexes over the range of DMPC/BR ratios studied. On increasing the proportion of BR in the DMPC-BR complexes, the 2H-NMR quadrupole splittings measured from the choline gamma-methyl groups and the beta-methylene segments and the 31P-NMR CSA increased in magnitude, while the 2H-NMR quadrupole splitting from the alpha-methylene segment decreased. Such opposing changes in the choline alpha- and beta-methylene segment quadrupole splittings are similar to those reported on increasing the proportion of positively charged amphiphile at the bilayer surface (Seelig et al. (1987) Biochemistry 26, 7535-7541). It is suggested that BR presents a net positive charge to the phosphocholine headgroups at the protein/lipid interface.


Journal article


Biochim Biophys Acta

Publication Date





317 - 324


Bacteriorhodopsins, Deuterium, Dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine, Halobacterium salinarum, Lipid Bilayers, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Molecular Conformation, Phosphorus, Thermodynamics