Proton transfer dynamics in the nonhomogeneous electric field of a protein

R. Yam*, E. Nachliel, S. Kiryati, M. Gutman, D. Huppert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By adsorption of pyranine (8 hydroxypyrene 1, 3, 6 trisulfonate) to lysozyme we create on the positively charged protein a fluorophoric site with a total charge of -3. Photo dissociation of the dye's hydroxyl proton changes its absorption and fluorescence spectrum, permitting a continuous monitoring of the reprotonation dynamics. Absorbance measurements in the microsecond time scale monitor how the bulk protons penetrate the Coulomb cage of the bound dye. Time-resolved fluorescence monitors how the proton is escaping out of the Coulomb cage of the bound dye. These probe reactions were studied with a series of dye-enzyme complexes where the number of free carboxylate was reduced by amidation, increasing the total charge of the complex from +5 to +12.6. The time-resolved measurements demonstrate the complexity of the electric field in the immediate vicinity of the dye. It is consistent with a negative potential wall (of the anion) surrounded by a positive potential wall of proteinaceous moieties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-11
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


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