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Trends Microbiol. 2015 Feb;23(2):91-8.

Light-driven ion-translocating rhodopsins in marine bacteria.


Microbial rhodopsins are the photoreceptive membrane proteins found in diverse microorganisms from within Archaea, Eubacteria, and eukaryotes. They have a hep-tahelical transmembrane structure that binds to an all-trans retinal chromophore. Since 2000, thousands of proteorhodopsins, genes of light-driven proton pump rhodopsins, have been identified from various species of marine bacteria. This suggests that they are used for the conversion of light into chemical energy, contribut-ing to carbon circulation related to ATP synthesis in the ocean. Furthermore, novel types of rhodopsin (sodium and chloride pumps) have recently been discovered. Here, we review recent progress in our understanding of ion-transporting rhodopsins of marine bacteria, based mainly on biophysical and biochemical research.

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