Application of a sensitive near-field microwave microprobe to the nondestructive characterization of microbial rhodopsin



We study the opto-electrical properties of Natronomonas pharaonis sensory rhodopsin II (NpSRII) by using a near-field microwave microprobe (NFMM) under external light illumination. To investigate the possibility of application of NFMM to biological macromolecules, we used time dependent properties of NPSRII before/after light activation which has three distinct states – ground-state, M-state, and O-state. The diagnostic ability of NFMM is demonstrated by measuring the microwave reflection coefficient (S11) spectrum of NpSRII under steady-state illumination in the wavelength range of 350–650 nm. Moreover, we present microwave reflection coefficient S11 spectra in the same wavelength range for two fast-photocycling rhodopsins: green light-absorbing proteorhodopsin (GPR) and Gloeobacter rhodopsin (GR). In addition the frequency sweep shift can be detected completely even for tiny amounts of sample (∼10–3 OD of rhodopsin). Based on these results NFMM shows both very high sensitivity for detecting conformational changes and produces a good time-resolved spectrum. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)