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Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), working with colleagues in Spain, France, and Germany, have determined and analyzed the high-resolution structure of a protein from the recently discovered heliorhodopsin family. Microbial rhodopsins play a key role in optogenetics, a technique that involves the introduction of these photosensitive proteins into the membranes of neurons.
Left: The dimer of heliorhodopsin 48C12 in the cell membrane (shown as gray discs). Right: High-resolution electron density maps demonstrate the presence of an acetate anion at the active site of heliorhodopsin 48C12. Courtesy of K. Kovalev et al.
Genomic studies have led to the discovery of more than 10,000 rhodopsin genes…