CONVERSION OF LIGHT ENERGY TO ELECTROSTATIC ENERGY IN THE PROTON PUMP OF HALOBACTERIUM HALOBIUM

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Abstract

Abstract— The energetics of the proton pump in Halobacterium halobium is considered on a molecular level. It is proposed that absorption of light by bacteriorhodopsin leads to charge separation and sequential changes in the proton affinities some of the protein groups resulting in proton pumping against the pH gradient. Two alternative models of ‘through-space’ and ‘through-bond’ charge separation are proposed. Novel diagrams that describe the energetics of the pumping process are presented. These diagrams can be used both to examine different models of bacteriorhodopsin and for considering other photobiological processes that involve conversion of light energy to electrostatic energy.

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