Proton transfer reactions are of central importance in all areas of study concerning redox systems, ionic reactions and chemical catalysis, and there is significant recognition of the connection between biological and chemical reactions involving carbon acids and other very weakly acidic functionalities, i.e., the classical area of acid-base catalysis. However, the lack of detailed structural information has greatly impeded meaningful attention being paid to mechanisms of long-distance proton transport, in spite of its central role in bioenergy conversion by chemiosmotic systems. Recent successes in structure determination of the major energy-transducing membrane proteins have now set the stage for real advancement is this area. Just as the photosynthetic reaction center was invaluable for the development and testing of theoretical understanding of electron transfer in aperiodic systems, generally, so can proton transporting proteins can inform such developing fields as polymer membrane designs for fuel cells, non-aqueous electrolyte solutions, and matrix materials for heterogeneous catalysis. This is becoming an important focus area of productive cross-disciplinary exchange. The objective of the conference is to bring together scientists in diverse fields, who share interests in the structure and function of systems that transport protons and water. The emphasis is on long-range movements in biological membranes and model systems, but short-range proton and hydrogen atom transfers are also included to provide understanding of the nature of rate limiting events. The contributing fields include membrane biophysics, electrophysiology, structural biology of membrane proteins, bioenergetics, theoretical approaches to proton transfer, coupling of proton movements to electron transfer and conformational changes, molecular dynamics simulations, computation of protein electrostatics, spectroscopy and sensory transduction.
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