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Letters to Nature
Nature 270, 538 - 540 (08 December 1977); doi:10.1038/270538a0

Membrane-bound carotenoid in Micrococcus luteus protects naphthoquinone from photodynamic action

M. ANWAR, T. HASAN KHAN, J. PREBBLE & P. F. ZAGALSKY

Department of Biochemistry, Bedford College, London NW1, UK

ALTHOUGH carotenoid pigments are widely distributed in nature, their function is little understood. Studies of nonphotosynthetic bacteria have led to the conclusion that these pigments are present in the plasma membrane where they protect membrane components from photo-oxidation. We report here a study of detergent-extracted carotenoid which is not protein-bound but associated with membrane lipid. The lipid-carotenoid micelles are shown to protect naphthoquinones from photodestruction, a function attributed to the native pigment.

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