American Chemical Society
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Overcoming Protein Orientation Mismatch Enables Efficient Nanoscale Light-Driven ATP Production

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-03, 19:35 authored by Andrea Marco Amati, Stefan Urs Moning, Sacha Javor, Sandra Schär, Sabina Deutschmann, Jean-Louis Reymond, Christoph von Ballmoos
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-producing modules energized by light-driven proton pumps are powerful tools for the bottom-up assembly of artificial cell-like systems. However, the maximum efficiency of such modules is prohibited by the random orientation of the proton pumps during the reconstitution process into lipid-surrounded nanocontainers. Here, we overcome this limitation using a versatile approach to uniformly orient the light-driven proton pump proteorhodopsin (pR) in liposomes. pR is post-translationally either covalently or noncovalently coupled to a membrane-impermeable protein domain guiding orientation during insertion into preformed liposomes. In the second scenario, we developed a novel bifunctional linker, trisNTA-SpyTag, that allows for the reversible connection of any SpyCatcher-containing protein and a HisTag-carrying protein. The desired protein orientations are verified by monitoring vectorial proton pumping and membrane potential generation. In conjunction with ATP synthase, highly efficient ATP production is energized by the inwardly pumping population. In comparison to other light-driven ATP-producing modules, the uniform orientation allows for maximal rates at economical protein concentrations. The presented technology is highly customizable and not limited to light-driven proton pumps but applicable to many membrane proteins and offers a general approach to overcome orientation mismatch during membrane reconstitution, requiring little to no genetic modification of the protein of interest.