Exploring fast proton transfer events associated with lateral proton diffusion on the surface of membranes

New Article Posted by Nadav AmdurskyYiyang LinNoora Aho, and Gerrit Groenhof

Protons have a major importance in countless chemical and biological systems. For instance, the movement of protons between the two sides of a biological membrane via protein complexes is the key process in the formation of the biological energetic coin of ATP. In our new study, we study the most fundamental question of what is happening when a proton meets a membrane? We designed a new probe that can be tethered to the membranes and upon light irradiation can release a proton. Using fast spectroscopy together with molecular dynamics simulations, we could follow what is the fate of the photo-released proton. Our new findings about the role of different membranes with different compositions in their ability to capture a proton and enable its diffusion on the surface of the membrane are very important in our understanding of some key biological processes.

The study was published in PNAS- https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/01/23/1812351116