Background: Research on harvesting solar energy through an artificial photosynthetic device
is gaining momentum in the present era. The device is a promising solution to the energy crisis by
overcoming the crunch in fossil fuel and low efficiency of heat engine. Reports are available on design
of isolated parts of the photosynthetic device, for example, only sensitizer or only redox unit containing
Objective: An attempt has been made to design an in silico photoreaction center in a single chain protein
matrix containing all the three basic units: sensitizer, electron donor, and acceptor mimicking the
photosynthetic reaction center II.
Methods: A single chain of a protein containing a closely packed transmembrane four-helix bundle (PDB
ID 2bl2 A) is selected for the purpose. The protein is suitably mutated in silico to accommodate the basic
elements of a reaction center: Mn-Ca binding site as water oxidizing moiety, Fe-binding site as quinine
reducing moiety, and MgDPP as photosensitizer to achieve the desired function of photoredox reaction.
Results: A photoelectron transport protein has been designed, which may incorporate into the bilayer
membrane system. It has the potential to photo-oxidize water to oxygen on one side and reduce quinone
on the other side of the membrane. The stability and transmembrane orientation of the molecular
device in an artificial membrane system has been validated theoretically by molecular dynamics study.
Conclusion: An attempt to incorporate in silico all the elements essential for a photoelectron transport
device into a single chain transmembrane protein model is the first of its kind. Donor and acceptor
moieties are separated on the inner and outer side of a membrane bilayer. These features make the
model unique and novel. The design of the model is the first step towards the study of experimental
viability of the model, which remains to be validated in future.