The lifetime of the M-intermediate in the bacteriorhodopsin photocycle was remarkably prolonged on drying a suspension of purple membrane, in arginine solution at alkaline pH. The M-intermediate could be completely accumulated under illumination (530 nm) at room temperature. The crystalline structure of purple membranes was retained after this treatment. The lifetime of the M-intermediate was found to be longer than 100 s and depended on the pH of the purple membrane suspension before drying. It was suggested that an interaction between the guanidium group of arginine and an amino acid residue played an important role in the prolongation.
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