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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2008 Oct;7(10):1159-67. doi: 10.1039/b802660m. Epub 2008 Aug 18.

Cyanobacteriochromes: a new superfamily of tetrapyrrole-binding photoreceptors in cyanobacteria.

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Department of Life Sciences, Biology, The University of Tokyo, Komaba, Meguro, Tokyo, 153-8902, Japan.


A new group of photoreceptors has been experimentally revealed in cyanobacteria. They are phototaxis regulator SyPixJ1, TePixJ and AnPixJ, chromatic acclimation regulator SyCcaS, circadian input kinase homolog SyCikA and many other candidates, which have been found only in cyanobacteria to date. These new photoreceptors are now proposed to be "cyanobacteriochromes". They are characterized by the presence of a chromophore-binding GAF domain that is homologous to the tetrapyrrole-binding GAF domain of the phytochrome. Here, we summarized unique features of those representatives: (1) only the GAF domain is sufficient for full photoconversion, (2) the GAF domain is homologous to but distinct from the phytochrome GAF, (3) the GAF domain binds a linear tetrapyrrole pigment such as phycoviolobilin or phycocyanobilin, (4) spectral properties are very diverse from near ultra-violet to red region. We also discussed the functionality of the other candidate GAFs, structure and evolution.

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