Function of membrane protein in silica nanopores: Incorporation of photosynthetic light-harvesting protein LH2 into FSM

Ippei Oda, Kotaro Hirata, Syoko Watanabe, Yutaka Shibata, Tsutomu Kajino, Yoshiaki Fukushima, Satoshi Iwai, Shigeru Itoh

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48 Citations (Scopus)


A high amount of functional membrane protein complex was introduced into a folded-sheet silica mesoporous material (FSM) that has nanometer-size pores of honeycomb-like hexagonal cylindrical structure inside. The photosynthetic light-harvesting complex LH2, which is a typical membrane protein, has a cylindrical structure of 7.3 nm diameter and contains 27 bacteriochlorophyll a and nine carotenoid molecules. The complex captures light energy in the anoxygenic thermophilic purple photosynthetic bacterium Thermochromatium tepidum. The amount of LH2 adsorbed to FSM was determined optically and by the adsorption isotherms of N2- The FSM compounds with internal pore diameters of 7.9 and 2.7 nm adsorbed LH2 at 1.11 and 0.24 mg/mg FSM, respectively, suggesting the high specific affinity of LH2 to the interior of the hydrophobic nanopores with a diameter of 7.9 nm. The LH2 adsorbed to FSM showed almost intact absorption bands of bacteriochlorophylls, and was fully active in the capture and transfer of excitation energy. The LH2 complex inside the FSM showed increased heat stability of the exciton-type absorption band of bacteriochlorophylls (B850), suggesting higher circular symmetry. The environment inside the hydrophobic silica nanopores can be a new matrix for the membrane proteins to reveal their functions. The silica-membrane protein adduct will be useful for the construction of new probes and reaction systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1114-1120
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Feb 26
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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