Article

Title:Mechanism divergence in microbial rhodopsins.
Authors:Spudich JL; Sineshchekov OA; Govorunova EG
Publication:Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 May;1837(5):546-52. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2013.06.006. Epub 2013 Jul 3.
PubmedID23831552
Abstract
A fundamental design principle of microbial rhodopsins is that they share the same basic light-induced conversion between two conformers. Alternate access of the Schiff base to the outside and to the cytoplasm in the outwardly open "E" conformer and cytoplasmically open "C" conformer, respectively, combined with appropriate timing of pKa changes controlling Schiff base proton release and uptake make the proton path through the pumps vectorial. Phototaxis receptors in prokaryotes, sensory rhodopsins I and II, have evolved new chemical processes not found in their proton pump ancestors, to alter the consequences of the conformational change or modify the change itself. Like proton pumps, sensory rhodopsin II undergoes a photoinduced E-->C transition, with the C conformer a transient intermediate in the photocycle. In contrast, one light-sensor (sensory rhodopsin I bound to its transducer HtrI) exists in the dark as the C conformer and undergoes a light-induced C-->E transition, with the E conformer a transient photocycle intermediate. Current results indicate that algal phototaxis receptors channelrhodopsins undergo redirected Schiff base proton transfers and a modified E-->C transition which, contrary to the proton pumps and other sensory rhodopsins, is not accompanied by the closure of the external half-channel. The article will review our current understanding of how the shared basic structure and chemistry of microbial rhodopsins have been modified during evolution to create diverse molecular functions: light-driven ion transport and photosensory signaling by protein-protein interaction and light-gated ion channel activity. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Retinal Proteins - You can teach an old dog new tricks.