Single Proteoliposomes with E. coli Quinol Oxidase: Proton Pumping without Transmembrane Leaks
Journal article, 2017

Respiratory oxidases are transmembrane enzymes that catalyze the reduction of dioxygen to water in the final step of aerobic respiration. This process is linked to proton pumping across the membrane. Here, we developed a method to study the catalytic turnover of the quinol oxidase, cytochrome bo3 from E. coli at single-molecule level. Liposomes with reconstituted cytochrome bo3 were loaded with a pH-sensitive dye and changes in the dye fluorescence, associated with proton transfer and pumping, were monitored as a function of time. The single-molecule approach allowed us to determine the orientation of cytochrome bo3 in the membrane; in ?70 % of the protein-containing liposomes protons were released to the outside. Upon addition of substrate we observed the buildup of a ?pH (in the presence of the K+ ionophore valinomycin), which was stable over at least ?800 s. No rapid changes in ?pH (proton leaks) were observed during steady state proton pumping, which indicates that the free energy stored in the electrochemical gradient in E. coli is not dissipated or regulated through stochastic transmembrane proton leaks, as suggested from an earlier study (Li et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2015) 137, 16055–16063).

electron transfer

proton translocation

single molecule

proton pump

membrane protein


Johan Berg

Stockholm University

Stephan Block

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

Fredrik Höök

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

Peter Brzezinski

Stockholm University

Israel Journal of Chemistry

0021-2148 (ISSN)

Vol. 57 5 437-445

Areas of Advance

Life Science Engineering (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Structural Biology



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Latest update

3/1/2018 7