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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2010 Nov;9(11):1435-43. doi: 10.1039/c0pp00168f. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Diversity and functional properties of bistable pigments.

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Department of Biology and Geosciences, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, 3-3-138, Sugimoto, Osaka, Osaka 558-8585, Japan.


Rhodopsin and related opsin-based pigments, which are photosensitive membrane proteins, have been extensively studied using a wide variety of techniques, with rhodopsin being the most understood G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). Animals use various opsin-based pigments for vision and a wide variety of non-visual functions. Many functionally varied pigments are roughly divided into two kinds, based on their photoreaction: bistable and monostable pigments. Bistable pigments are thermally stable before and after photo-activation, but monostable pigments are stable only before activation. Here, we review the diversity of bistable pigments and their molecular characteristics. We also discuss the mechanisms underlying different molecular characteristics of bistable and monostable pigments. In addition, the potential of bistable pigments as a GPCR model is proposed.

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