The localization of the reaction center polypeptides (L, M, and H) in the membranes of both the wild-type, strain 2.4.1, and the carotenoidless mutant, R-26, of Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides was determined by using affinity-purified antibodies specific for these proteins. Binding of the antibodies to reaction center subunits in spheroplasts was visualized in the electron microscope by immunoferritin labeling. The H and M subunits were labeled at both the cytoplasmic and the periplasmic surfaces of the membrane, whereas the L subunit was labeled only at the periplasmic surface of the membrane. Thus, the reaction center is asymmetrically oriented in the membrane with at least two subunits (H and M) spanning the membrane.

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