Proteoliposomes as energy transferring nanomaterials: enhancing the spectral range of light-harvesting proteins using lipid-linked chromophores†
Bio-hybrid nanomaterials have great potential for combining the most desirable aspects of biomolecules and the contemporary concepts of nanotechnology to create highly efficient light-harvesting materials. Light-harvesting proteins are optimized to absorb and transfer solar energy with remarkable efficiency but have a spectral range that is limited by their natural pigment complement. Herein, we present the development of model membranes (“proteoliposomes”) in which the absorption range of the membrane protein Light-Harvesting Complex II (LHCII) is effectively enhanced by the addition of lipid-tethered Texas Red (TR) chromophores. Energy transfer from TR to LHCII is observed with up to 94% efficiency and increased LHCII fluorescence of up to three-fold when excited in the region of lowest natural absorption. The new self-assembly procedure offers the modularity to control the concentrations incorporated of TR and LHCII, allowing energy transfer and fluorescence to be tuned. Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy provides single-proteoliposome-level quantification of energy transfer efficiency and confirms that functionality is retained on surfaces. Designer proteoliposomes could act as a controllable light-harvesting nanomaterial and are a promising step in the development of bio-hybrid light-harvesting systems.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles