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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2008;59:167-89. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.59.032607.092847.

Algal sensory photoreceptors.

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Institute of Biology, Experimental Biophysics, Humboldt Universit├Ąt zu Berlin, 10115 Berlin, Germany.


Only five major types of sensory photoreceptors (BLUF-proteins, cryptochromes, phototropins, phytochromes, and rhodopsins) are used in nature to regulate developmental processes, photosynthesis, photoorientation, and control of the circadian clock. Sensory photoreceptors of algae and protists are exceptionally rich in structure and function; light-gated ion channels and photoactivated adenylate cyclases are unique examples. During the past ten years major progress has been made with respect to understanding the function, photochemistry, and structure of key sensory players of the algal kingdom.

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