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Beneath some environmental conditions the halophile Halobacterium halobium synthesizes a membrane protein (MW 26,000) bacteriorhodopsin, which is purple as it comprises retinal. Molecules of this protein aggregate into purple.

Patches in the cell membrane. Bacteriorhodopsin acts as a light activated proton.

Pump which gives energy for cell functions. X-ray analysis of this protein

Reveals that it comprises of seven parallel alpha-helical segments, each of which transverses the bacterial cell membrane (thickness 4.5 nm = 45Å).

a) Compute the minimum number of amino acids essential for one segment of alpha-helix to traverse the membrane completely.

b) Estimate the fraction of the bacteriorhodopsin protein which takes place in alpha-helical form.

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  • Category:- Biology
  • Reference No.:- M937908

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