Molecule of the Month
September 2023
Protein Engineering Allows Efficient Light-Driven ATP Synthesis

We have reconstituted the enzyme ATP synthase and a light-driven proton pump, proteorhodopsin (pR), into lipid vesicles, allowing ATP production to be energized by light.
To maximize the efficiency, we have uniformly oriented the proton pumps using a novel synthetic biology approach, in which pR was coupled to a protein that remains outside of the liposomes.
Such systems are essential modules for the bottom-up construction of artificial cells.

This work was carried out in the group of Prof. Dr. Christoph von Ballmoos.