A spectrally silent change is often observed in the photocycle of microbial rhodopsins. Here, we suggest the presence of two O intermediates in the photocycle of Acetabularia rhodopsin II (ARII or also called Ace2), a light-driven algal proton pump from Acetabularia acetabulum. ARII exhibits a photocycle including a quasi-equilibrium state of M, N, and O (M<=>N<=>O→) at near neutral and above pH values. However, acidification of the medium below pH ~5.5 causes no accumulation of N, resulting in that the photocycle of ARII can be described as an irreversible scheme (M→O→). This may facilitate the investigation of the latter part of the photocycle, especially the rise and decay of O, during which molecular events have not been sufficiently understood. Thus we analyzed the photocycle under acidic conditions (pH ≤ 5.5). Analysis of the absorbance change at 610 nm, which mainly monitors the fractional concentration changes of K and O, was performed and revealed a photocycle scheme containing two sequential O-states with the different molar extinction coefficients. These photoproducts, termed O1 and O2, may be even produced at physiological pH, although they are not clearly observed under this condition due to the existence of a long M-N-O equilibrium.
2017 THE BIOPHYSICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN